• Frederick Kiesler's Magic Architecture
    Spyros Papapetros & Gerd Zillner

Frederick Kiesler, Magic Architecture, research material (journal clippings): Red Ant. Courtesy of Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation, Vienna.

This project researches Frederick Kiesler's book project Magic Architecture: Its Origins and Future, written around the end of WWII and submitted to editors soon after, but ultimately never published. Comprised of over 300 typewritten pages of text and a set of sixty composite illustrations, including original drawings and diagrams, this is Kiesler's most extensive book project, yet it remains unknown to a larger audience. The work reflects the architect's interdisciplinary research in the fields of paleo-archaeology, cultural anthropology, human and animal psychology, biology, and natural history. In the ten parts of his book, Kiesler sketched a universal history of human housing from the dawn of mankind and the habitations of animals to the "slums" of twentieth-century, war-torn metropolitan subjects. According to Kiesler, "magic architecture is every-man's architecture," an architecture that mediates between dream and reality, while addressing the urgent problems of human existence following a period of global devastation.

Spyros Papapetros is associate professor of architectural theory and historiography, acting codirector of the program in media and modernity, and executive committee member of the program in European cultural studies at Princeton University. He studies the intersections between art, architecture, historiography, psychoanalysis, and the history of psychological aesthetics. He is the author of On the Animation of the Inorganic: Art, Architecture, and the Extension of Life (University of Chicago, 2012), the coeditor of Retracing the Expanded Field (MIT Press, 2014), and the editor of Space as Membrane by Siegfried Ebeling (AA Publications, 2010). He is the recipient of fellowships from the Getty Research Institute, the Institute for Advanced Study, the Canadian Center for Architecture, the Graham Foundation, the Barr Ferree Foundation, the Townsend Center for the Humanities, and the Fulbright Program. He is currently completing a book project on the historiography of architectural adornment on a global scale from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth centuries, and researching an additional book project on modern architecture and prehistory, which is thematically related to Kiesler's Magic Architecture.

Gerd Zillner is archive manager, senior scientist, and curator of the Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Private Foundation, Vienna. He headed the scientific documentation of contemporary art in Austria at the Basis Wien and was part of the research project Vektor: European Contemporary Art Archives, founded by the European Commission's Culture 2000 program. He has lectured, published, and curated shows on Frederick Kiesler and contemporary art, including Wien, Paris, New York: Face to Face with the Avant-Garde (Vienna, 2010), Kiesler: Cara a cara con la vanguardia (Casa Encendida, Madrid, 2013), and Unknown and Unbuilt: Kiesler's Architectural Projects of the 1950s (Vienna, 2014). He is currently coediting a selection of Frederick Kiesler's writings and a book on the Endless House (in cooperation with the University of Applied Arts in Vienna).