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Architect Holzbauer died at 88 years of DiePresse.com

He was nicknamed "Wilhelm the Builder", but Wilhelm Holzbauer did not only enter Austria's architectural history with his numerous buildings, but also with his teaching. Whole use in the acquisition of orders were natural for him, but he rejected compromises in building. Today, Saturday, the doyen of the architectural scene died at the age of 88.

"I confess to an architecture whose roots lie in a pragmatic attitude and not in an ideological one," wrote Wilhelm Holzbauer once. Not only in the theoretical engagement with architectural tasks he drove forward the modern age in Austria, also in the built practice he remained true to himself. In Vienna alone, the busy employee, who retired in 2018, and others, built. Office buildings in the Lasallestraße, the Andromeda Tower on the Donauplatte, the Kärntnerringhof or the new façade of the Volksoper.

Holzbauer contributed significantly to the cityscape in his native Salzburg, where he was born on 3 September 1930. There are his most important early buildings, such as the church in Parsch or the education center St. Virgil, as well as several office buildings, the Faculty of Natural Sciences and the 2006 opened "House for Mozart" in the festival district. Prestigious Holzbauer works can be found throughout Austria and abroad, especially the music and theater buildings was his great love. In Bregenz he built the mansion in 1981, in Amsterdam he realized a new opera house in 1986, in Baden-Baden he docked a mighty festival theater at an old railway station.

What is common to all projects is that they are as powerful as the masses of construction the architectural language – hardly to be overlooked. "He has the gift of translating complex functional and spatial programs into computer-based concepts that are simple and manageable," was the verdict of architectural critic Friedrich Achleitner.

After attending the Technical School of Applied Sciences in Salzburg, Wilhelm Holzbauer studied together in the early 1950s with Gustav Peichl, with Clemens Holzmeister at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. In 1952 he founded the legendary "Arbeitsgruppe 4" with Friedrich Kurrent and Johannes Spalt. Her designs and ideas were considered milestones in Austrian architectural history. Almost his career, however, had already ended in 1956. His trip as a fullbright fellow to the USA with the "Andrea Doria" ended in a shipwreck. Holzbauer was among the rescued.

Holzbauer taught for several years as a visiting professor in the USA and Canada. Despite a lucrative job offer from Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), one of the largest architectural firms in the world in Chicago, he returned to his homeland when "workgroup 4" was commissioned by St. Joseph's College. From 1977 to 1998 he held a professorship at today's University of Applied Arts in Vienna, from 1987 to 1991 he was its rector. Over 300 students attended his master class, with two of his alumni, Fritz Kaufmann and Wolfgang Vanek, and the Gustav Peichl student Egon Türmer, he founded the office Holzbauer & Partner Architekten in 2001. In 2000 he was awarded the Grand Austrian State Prize. He has been a member of the Art Senate since 2007.

Far more than 500 projects are included in his catalog of works, designs for opera houses and theaters in Sidney, Paris and Tokyo are as well as subway buildings for Vienna, Ankara, Bilbao and Bonn or parliaments for Berlin, Strasbourg or The Hague. After the project "Haus für Mozart" overshadowed by differences regarding the awarding procedure, the architecture maestro became quieter. "I have not come to the tasks that really interest me," he once said in an interview. As his last major project, he described the concert hall for Konstanz. However, the plans were passed by the population and were never realized.

Among the many projects listed on the homepage of the "Holzbauer & Partner Architekten" office are the Hotel Tower on Wienerberg, the extensions to the St. Martins Therme and Lodge in Seewinkel and the spa Laa an der Thaya, the winery Schullin am Bisamberg, the "Schuler Innovation Tower" in Göppingen near Stuttgart and a residential building in Vienna-Mariahilf.


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