Michael Hofstätter (*1953)
Wolfgang Pauzenberger (*1955)



Founded in 1986, in Vienna, by Hofstätter and Pauzenberger, Pauhof calls on terminology borrowed from conceptual art to define its non-relational architectural style. Pauhof experiments with intense modes of expression and design approaches while undertaking a research process into methods enabling the "destabilisation", if not the destruction, of standard perception models. Pauhof's town-planning models arise from a certain idealisation of layout; seemingly introverted, they are the result of in-depth contextual analysis, explored through collages, photomontages, and mock-ups. The Synthemuseum project (1987) in the centre of Vienna thus makes use of powerful formal contrasts, alongside Fischer van Erlach's emblematic 18th century architecture. This town-planning project, like that for the government palace in Spreebogen, tends to show that architecture still has substantial cultural impact and is not simply an artistic activity. Less monumental, the project for the Austrian Pavilion in Seville was to have been a predetermined architectural symbol whose composition, oscillating between interior and exterior, was not to oppose the established public space. Pauhof's architectural style calls on an abstract and conceptual vocabulary, dynamically stimulating project contexts.
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The Pauhof agency has been in existence since 1986. It has grown out of the encounter and collaboration between two Austrian architects: Michael Hofstätter and Wolfgang Pauzenberger, which are actually divided between two cities, respectively Vienna and Linz. As a result, project designs are themselves divided between periods of independent, individual explorations, when each architect works in relative isolation, and limited periods of pooling when the project is systematically rationalized.
Although the Pauhof architects have not as yet built a great deal (Metal Workshop, 1990; House-P, 1996), the radical nature of their production is very much part of the architectural debate: publications in many different forms and formats, exhibitions and installations which may be seen equally as experiments akin to those of contemporary art and actual architectural pieces, and noteworthy participations in many major international competitions.
To be fully grasped, the radical nature of Pauhof must be referred back to and contrasted with the specific context of Austrian postmodern architecture of the 1970s and 1980s, scene of a mannered and historically-oriented reaction to the universalist themes of the "modern movements". It is this very question that haunts Pauhof: How is one to go beyond this modernity, but without doing away with it, without denying it? They accordingly opted to explore an approach involving intensification.
In Pauhof architecture we do indeed come upon themes inherited directly from the avant-gardes of this century: formal language stripped of all symbolism, formal work on an elementary volumetry, "impositive" relationship to the context, and a tendency towards the large urban scale… With Pauhof, however, all these themes are ploughed back, exacerbated, and pushed to the limit. The proportions of the elements are intentionally exaggerated, like those of the "flattened" volume which surmounts the Expo '92 Austrian Pavilion. The surfaces strike the eye with their brutal nakedness; rough concrete in the Metal Workshop, aluminium sheets in the House-P, black steel sheets in their exhibition sets. They are usually smooth and polished, and continually turn inward over the sides of the volumes, emphasizing their compactness. The structural systems are also pushed to the limit in order to dramatize the volumetric effects: maximum cantilevers in the Tuchfabrik, dearth of vertical supports in the House-P.
Pauhof architecture also plays on a series of radical reversals of diametric pairs. In particular, it expresses a paradoxical dialectic between volume, in all its encompassing exteriority, and space, in all its open interiority. In all their projects, there is a recurrent desire to construct what Pauhof calls the "implicit volume": in the Expo '92 Austrian Pavilion, the three principal elements, hall, circulations and exhibition rooms, define the boundaries of a large empty space, the "implicit volume". This volume is like the invisible law which underlies every project. The form, the arrangement, and the scale of each one of the parts are all connected in it, and all derive from it. No element holds up on its own. The structure, for example, is never defined in an autogenic way, following a purely structural rationalism, but in the role it plays in the definition of this implicit and immaterial whole.

Synthesis Museum - Vienne Autriche - Competition 1987

Pauhof's proposal for the development of the Messepalast as a "museum quarter" consists of a number of elements which act together but remain physically distinct. The general layout of the Messepalast is retained but the larger spaces are upgraded and used for temporary exhibitions. A new building, facing Maria Theresien Platz, houses a permanent collection whose organization is visible through the main facade: escalators lead directly from the subway exits at each end to the display areas which in turn look back towards the city. The two main exhibition areas are connected by elevated galleries, supported by four service towers set on top of an underground road. The dimensions of the bridging elements correspond with those of the main galleries in the nearby museums designed by Semper. Additional facilities include a photography gallery, located beneath a flat suspended roof, and a cinema at the northern end of the new building.

Pavillon Autrichien Expo '92 - Seville, Spain, 1989-90

Three major elements - the entrance hall, the main gallery and the connecting circulation space - are arranged so as to define the edges of a large open volume. Any reference to the scale of everyday construction, such as standard window, door and storey heights, is avoided so that the larger space remains a blank receptacle from which to view the surrounding pavilions. The external simplicity of the entrance hall and the main gallery is maintained by the use of a type of continuous construction normally employed for aircraft fuselages, with no distinction made between wall, roof and underside. The long tall volume containing the vertical circulation has a solid wall with perforated windows, plus a large circular opening towards the site boundary and a transparent screen on the remaining faces.

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Linzer Tuchfabrik - Linz Autriche - Competition 1991

The project is located in an increasingly commercial area of Linz. Pauhof's proposal involves the integration of three separate elements: an irregular-shaped site with mature trees, the conversion of a textile factory into offices and new housing. Within the factory the office spaces are located around the perimeter, where they enjoy the best daylight and views, and the remaining volume is used for access and services. The elevated double-storey section of the housing includes seven unit types, all incorporated within a single linear arrangement. the housing is positioned eight meters above the ground and supported on clusters of four columns at wide intervals. Tension cables, next to the columns, give added stiffness. Silent tribute to the constructivist K. Melnikov, this linear floating body supported on seven groups of vertical ponctual elements could also be seen as an abstract reverence for the suspended foliages of the old trees.

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House P - Gramastetten Autriche - 1992-98

The house reclines upon or is perhaps anchored to the gentle slope of the ground by the external wall which seems to have its origin in the lawn as a wall enclosing the garden and then unfurls to hold the ground floor of the building. It ends on the downhill side, virtually suspended in the void and physically separated from the earth by means of a glass strip, the source of natural light for the cellar. Thus, the wall suggests a conceptual open-ended rectangle that makes the living room and garden into a single outside-inside, linked by a large glass wall. On the upper floor, the sleeping area seems to be raised in a suspended prism, which is separated in its turn from the floor below by means of a thin strip of glass running its lenght. It, instead, offers a sweeping view that extends far into the distance. The room is a site for individual privacy and, it is suggested, for contemplation of the world.

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Pauhof :
Michael Hofstätter (1953)
Wolfgang Pauzenberger (1955)

1986 - Fondent Pauhof à Linz et Vienne.

Principaux projets et réalisations :
1998 - LKH 2000, Graz (projet) ; Centre de recherche médicale, Graz (projet) ; Galerie d'Art et d'Architecture, Linz (projet).
1997 - Hochhaus-duo, Vienne (projet) ; Ver Sacrum Zimmer, Wiener Secession.
1996 - Kansaï-kan of the National Diet Librairy, Japon (concours) ; Etude urbaine, Schwerin.
1995 - Holocaust Memorial, Vienne (projet).
1994 - Reconstruction du Souk, Beyrouth, Liban (projet) ; Ecole Professionnelle, Vienne (projet).
1993 - House P, Gramastetten (réal.) ; Centre gouvernemental sur la Spree, Berlin (projet) ; Architectural fragment, Grenoble (projet).
1992 - La carteja - Expo 92 - Seville (projet) ; House M, Gramastetten (réal.) ; Art Museum, Krems (projet).
1991 - Complexe Urbain Linzer Tuchfabrik, Linz (projet) ; Metal Workshop, Grammastetten (réal.).
1990 - Austrian Pavilion Expo ‘92, Seville (projet) ; City Hall, Ottensheim (projet).
1989 - Bibliothèque Alexandrina, Egypte (projet).
1988 - Trigon Museum, Linz (projet).
1987 - Synthese Museum, Vienne (projet).
Expositions récentes
1998 - " Beyond the Minimal " Architectural Association, Londres et Art Front Gallery (Hillside Terrace) Tokyo.
1997 - " Die schrift des Raumes " Kunsthalle, Vienne ; " Implied Volumes " Galerie OPOS Mailand ; " Houses for Sales " Galerie Sophia Ungers, Cologne ; " Partition " Galerie Museum, Bozen.
Bibliographie sélective de Pauhof :
1998 - Remixed : Pauhof / Walter Niedermayr / Sigrid Hauser, Edit. AR/GE Kunst, Galerie Museum, Bozen ; Beyond the Minimal, Edit. AA Londres, catalogue de l'exposition présentée à Londres et Tokyo ; Sprache - z.B.Architektur, Sigrid Hauser, Edit. Löcker, Vienne ; Architektur & Bauforum n°192, 193 et 194, Vienne ; Abitare n°369 ; AA Files n°36 ; l'ARCA n°131 ; Arquitectura Viva AV 72 ; Kenchiku Bunka n°11 ; Disenointerior n°75.
1997 - Houses for Sale, catalogue, Galerie Ungers, Cologne ; Kansaï-Kan of the DNL, catalogue, PBA, Tokyo ; Abitare n°360 ; Zlatÿ Rez n°14, Prague ; Daidalos n°66, Berlin ; Werk, Bauen + Wohnen n°9, Zurich.
1996 - Pauhof, New Architectural experiences in Europe, Editions Skira, Milan ; Judenplatz Wien, Edit. Folio, Vienne-Bozen ; GA Houses n°48, Tokyo ; Turris Babel n°37, Bozen ; Architektur Aktuell n°198, Vienne. Audiovisuel : Pauhof / Architektur ist nicht Kunst, Auracher, Vienne.
1994 - Pauhof - Architekten, Editions Wiese, Bâle.
1990 - Um Bau, Editions ÖGfA, Vienne.