Publication

  • ANTI—Journey to Architecture
    Raimund Abraham and Lebbeus Woods
    Authors
    Michele Porcu
    Editor
    Humboldt Books, 2015
  • GRANTEE
    Humboldt Books
    GRANT YEAR
    2014

Raimund Abraham and Lebbeus Woods sitting outside Le Corbusier's Maison de la Culture, 2007, Firminy-Vert, France. Courtesy of Lebbeus Woods Estate and Raimund Abraham Estate.

In October 2007, Raimund Abraham and Lebbeus Woods made a seven-day trip across Switzerland and France, “to discuss architecture in a time of senseless wars, incomprehensible politics, and an unrelenting triumph of rapidly changing fashions in architecture, to probe [their] own positions and to publish [their] discourse.” ANTI— Journey to Architecture, the resulting book, includes the trip's log, along with a transcription of the discussion the authors had at La Tourette, which continued once they returned to New York. The book closes with the section “Dialogue of Work,” comprised of alternating double spreads between their individual projects, all characterized by their experimental and imaginative nature. Due to the deaths of both authors, the book remained unfinished until Michele Porcu prepared the material for publication by Humboldt Books, generating an Introduction and Postface in accordance with the two architects’ desires.

Raimund Abraham (1933–2010) was an architect, artist, theorist, and teacher. Born in Lienz, Tyrol (Austria), he lived and worked in New York and Mazunte, Mexico. Following his graduation from Graz University of Technology in 1958, he established an architecture studio in Vienna. Abraham moved to the United States in 1964 to teach at the Rhode Island School of Design; from 1971 to 2002, he was a member of the faculty at the Cooper Union, and from 2003 until his death at SCI-Arc. During the early 1960s, Abraham developed a series of powerful architectural visions in drawing and montage; he would continue to investigate the depths and limits of architecture through this kind of drawing for the rest of his life. His work has been exhibited internationally and in 1992, he won the competition for the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York, which he completed in 2002.

Lebbeus Woods (1940–2012) was an American architect and architectural theorist. He was educated at Purdue University and the University of Illinois, and subsequently worked for Eero Saarinen & Associates/Roche Dinkeloo Associates, as well as in private practice. From the late 1970s, he devoted himself to experimental projects, teaching, and writing. In 1988, he cofounded the Research Institute for Experimental Architecture (RIEA). Woods’s publications include, Einstein Tomb (1980), Origins (1985), OneFiveFour (1987), Terra Nova (1990), Anarchitecture: Architecture is a Political Act (1992), War and Architecture (1993), Radical Reconstruction (1997), The Storm and the Fall (2004), and System Wien (2005). His architectural work has been exhibited internationally, most recently at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2013). As an educator, his home was the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union, New York City.

Michele Porcu is an architect, educator, critic, and curator, who graduated from the Politecnico di Milano in architecture. In addition to his work as an architect, he carries out critical investigations in exhibitions, editorial projects, and conferences, as well as focuses on experimental works and on the relationship between architecture and other art forms. He has collaborated with the Triennale di Milano, wrote for Abitare from 1996 to 2007, and has taught at Politecnico di Milano and currently at NABA/Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti in Milan. In 2014 he founded, with Mary Zurigo, Z.E.A. Zone di Esplorazione Artistica, a critical and curatorial program of research in contemporary art and architecture.

Mary Zurigo is collaborating with Michele Porcu in her capacity as project consultant.

This project is possible thanks to the support and the valuable assistance of Una Abraham (Raimund Abraham's daughter) and Aleksandra Wagner (Lebbeus Woods's widow).

Humboldt Books is a publishing house founded in 2012 that draws its inspiration from the scientific explorations of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, with a focus on travel as a means of gaining knowledge. Humboldt Books gathers multidisciplinary experiences, combining forms of knowledge and techniques, with the aim of gauging the changes in the world through travel. The publications of Humboldt Books present intersections and comparative interpretations investigated by intellectuals and writers, photographers, and artists, on the theme of the journey today. In the area of travel literature, Humboldt Books triggers contact and dialogue between different languages and expressions, in an attempt to update this literary genre, recovering its original spirit.