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Alte Pinakothek Hosts Exhibition by Viennese Architects Christian Jabornegg and András Pálffy
Jabornegg & Pálffy, Model, Hotel Velden Castel. Velden 2008. © Augustin Fischer.

MUNICH.- The Viennese architects Christian Jabornegg and András Pálffy, who established their joint architectural practice in 1988, have taken a meaningful path towards creating an architecture whose quality becomes particularly apparent when seen in conjunction with a building’s historical context. In complete contrast to standard architectural practices, Jabornegg & Pálffy have become well known due to a number of buildings which have been embedded in their historical context so that externally, from the pubic space, they barely stand out at all.

The architects adopt an especially analytical approach to the historical fabric. They do not thrust an isolated building or an architectual design element into the foreground but take the context as a fundamental point of reference for every structural intervention. They see ‘building in context’ as a complex and multifaceted interaction between the existing building fabric, the projected space allocation, the quality of the architecture and structural solutions. Their designs are based on context-related appraisals and analyses.

For Jabornegg & Pálffy, didactic models of the various phases of construction and design methods form a crucial aspect within the course of making spatial changes in an historical context. Their architectural solutions emerge as a result of precise deliberations about functionality, structure and ambient conditions. There are no isolated ‘design’ elements or dramatic form-related experiments; instead, there are spatial systems within structural contexts.

This is how one of the most beautiful spaces for modern art was created for the Generali Foundation through the conversion of a hat factory in a courtyard in Vienna, as the architectural design – which cannot be detected from the outside – was developed solely for the optimum presentation of the exhibits. In the case of the conversions of the Palais Rothschild for Schoeller Bank and of the south wing of Kassel’s main station for documenta X, the new functional spaces with optimised energy requirements emerged from the logical interaction with historical structures. In the case of the subterranean museum on Judenplatz in Vienna, the intensity of the overall effect comes from the powerful contrast – gained by paring down to the extreme – between the ‘empty’ square above ground with Rachel Whiteread’s Holocaust Memerial and the museum rooms underground in which, thanks to the building’s utmost architectural perfection, the visitor is cleverly guided towards entering into a dialogue with the past and the present. This ‘rubbing shoulders’ with an historical environment calls for new, complex solutions and architectural qualities.

Fourteen of the architects’ building projects are to be shown in the exhibition using thirty, large, didactically-based models as well as plans and photographs.

Alte Pinakothek | Christian Jabornegg | András Pálffy | Palais Rothschild | Schoeller Bank | Documenta X | Kassel |

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