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One of Europe’s Leading Architectural Practitioners Who Has Pushed the Boundaries of Design and Theory is Commended for his Decade of Achievements with Europe’s Highest Distinction for Architecture

Wolfgang Tschapeller has been selected as this year’s 2020 European Prize for Architecture Laureate, announced Christian Narkiewicz-Laine, architecture critic and President/CEO of The Chicago Athenaeum: Museum of Architecture and Design, which co-sponsors the award that has become to be known internationally as Europe’s highest honor.

“Wolfgang Tschapeller’s works are stunning, dense, multifarious, complex, and remarkable achievements of the highest complexity,” states Narkiewicz-Laine, “that complement the longstanding history of the craft and mastery of the architectural form and purpose; balancing strength and delicacy and upholding the reverence for pursuing the intellectual qualities inherent in design that has made architecture, as the ancient Greeks believed, the first and highest art form.”

“The words ‘brilliant’ and ‘provocative’ are understatements in describing this architect’s work.”

“He designs with exemplary, uncompromising radicalism, turning with daring virtuosity even the most insignificant project, from a house to an urban plaza, into a startling and elaborate Utopian vision. He never compromises in his intellectual approach for unflawed perfection.”

“Tschapeller is a ‘thinking architect’ alongside Piero della Francesca, Leonardo da Vinci, Albrecht Dürer, Wenzel Jamnitzer, Abraham Bosse, Girard Desargues, and Père Nicon. He is the ultimate architect-philosopher.”

“His avant-garde approach is fluid, concise, and brilliantly astonishing, adjusting to the needs and influences of each environment that he crafts and through a concept of interrelated time and architectonic space.”

Organized by The Chicago Athenaeum, together with The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies, The European Prize for Architecture is given annually to any living architect whose built work exemplifies the highest ideals of European civilization and embodies vision, commitment, and a profound respect for humanity and for the social and physical environment.

The European Prize for Architecture is not a “lifetime of achievement award,” but rather serves as an impetus to support new ideas, to encourage and foster more challenge-making and forward-thinking about buildings and the environment, and to prompt the pushing of the envelope to obtain an even greater, more profound result.

Wolfgang Tschapeller was born in Dölsach, Austria in 1956 and initially trained as a carpenter. He studied architecture at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, USA and received a Master of Architecture degree in 1987.

He has taught as a visiting professor at Cornell University, the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria, and the State University of New York in Buffalo, New York where, in 2004/2005, he was named a McHale Fellow. Since 2005, he has been a professor of architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He has also served as the Head of the Institute of Art and Architecture in Vienna since 2012. In 2014, he was Research Fellow at the University of New South Wales, Australia and in 2015 Visiting Professor at Cornell University. In 2019, Wolfgang Tschapeller was re-elected as Head of the Institute of Art and Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His firm Wolfgang Tschapeller Architect is based in Vienna, and was opened in 2007 and has a branch office in Belgrade since 2012.

As a researcher, he has published numerous books and catalogues.

From the start in the 1990s, Tschapeller leaped into the cerebral phenomenon of architectural design with such projects as Musiktheater Linz (1998 and 2006) and the Krematorium also in Linz (1999).

“Most of Tschapeller’s buildings seem to float, defying gravity or simply as part of some elusive dream-state,” continues Narkiewicz-Laine. “This is an architect that dreams and dreams big. His architectural expression is created from images in his creative mind, rather than directly from the reality of the world as to how we see it—and from multiple levels of a reality as he envisions it.”

“Tschapeller is a romantic purist. He has totally freed himself of any of the mundane, any of the practical commercial pursuits of his practice, and instead, has engaged in uncorrupted intellectual dialogue with his projects; surrendering himself to nothing less than pure invention.”

From 2010-2020, more unique, controversial buildings followed that embody some of his most quintessential ideas.

“Poetry or architecture or both poetry as architecture?” Narkiewicz-Laine asks.

The formal ceremony and gala dinner for what has come to be known throughout the world as Europe’s highest honor for architecture, usually taking place at the foot of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece—the birthplace of Western Architecture—has been postponed for 2020 because of the Corona Virus epidemic, but has been rescheduled for fall of 2021.

For more information and press photographs contact: Mr. Fachanan Conlon, Administrator, the European Centre in Dublin at fachanan@europeanarch.eu.

About The European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies (www.europeanarch.eu) is dedicated to public education concerning all aspects of the built environment - from entire cities to individual buildings - including the philosophical issues of arts and culture that ultimately give the final shape to design. A high emphasis exists on contemporary values and aesthetics, conservation and sustainability, and the theoretical exploration and advancement of art and design as the highest expression of culture and urbanism.

About The Chicago Athenaeum (www.chi-athenaeum.org) is a global nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide public education about the significance of architecture and design and how those disciplines can have a positive effect on the human environment.

Andreas Hofer Platz, Graz, Austria, 2013

Block 39 Masterplan Belgrade 2012

Med Campus, Graz, 2010 Wolfgang Tschapeller ZT GmbH with Enst Mayer + SGLW Architekten

Nationalbibliothek Prag, 2006

Science Island Kaunas, Kaunas, Lithuania, 2016

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