Raimund Abraham, former RISD faculty member dies in Los Angeles

Raimund Abraham, former member of the faculty of the Department of Architecture, died in a car accident in downtown Los Angeles on March 4, 2010 shortly after lecturing at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Abraham was born in 1933 and studied architecture at the Technical University in Graz. In 1959 he established an architectural studio in Vienna and immediately distinguished himself as an innovator. In 1964 he emigrated to the United States to teach at Rhode Island School of Design. In 1971 he relocated to New York to teach at the Cooper Union and Pratt Institute. In 2003 he became a visiting faculty member at the Southern California Institute of Architecture. Architectural historian Kenneth Frampton called Abraham’s New York City Austrian Cultural Forum Building “the most significant modern piece of architecture to be realized in Manhattan since the Seagram Building and the Guggenheim Museum.” 

In remembrance of his friend Abraham, Professor Emeritus Friedrich St. Florian has written that “Raimund Abraham was the most talented architect I have ever met.  He also was a master teacher.  There is a legion of younger architects, spanning two generations, that undoubtedly will carry his torch for many years to come.  Maybe this will be his greatest legacy.” 

“When I draw, the drawing is not a step toward the built but an autonomous reality that I try to anticipate. It’s a whole process of anticipation, anticipating that a line becomes an edge, that a plane becomes a wall; the texture of the graphite becomes the texture of the built. Now, when you translate the drawings, one also has to distinguish between the drawings you make in this autonomous process—where the drawing is the ultimate reality. I draw first for myself, not for somebody who is building—which means there has to be an absolute clarity in my mind, and the ability to retain the idea that I’ve established in the drawing, and furthermore, the anticipation that this idea will be buildable.” Abraham on drawing from an interview published in BOMB, issue 77, fall 2001

 For more  images of Abraham’s work click here

Division of Architecture + Design, obituary

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