ICA presents Everything is Architecture: Bau Magazine, the UK's first significant display of the pioneering Vienna-based publication. The exhibition takes a look at the period between 1965 and 1970, when a group of avant-garde Austrian architects and artists (Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler, Günther Feuerstein, Oswald Oberhuber, Sokratis Dimitriou and Gustav Peichl) took over its editorship. The interdisciplinary dynamic of the group means that they considered architecture beyond just buildings. Venturing into the realms of art and politics they transformed Bau into a platform to explore new, experimental ideas. Curator Juliette Desorgues takes Because on a private view sharing her exhibition highlights.


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Bau: Magazine for Architecture and Urban Planning 1969, Issue #1, Cover

This cover from the first issue of 1969 epitomises much of what Bau magazine stood for. One of its key features was its interdisciplinary approach, reaching beyond architecture, into design, fashion and art. Here, a woman’s hand with brightly painted red nails wears a ring with the magazine’s striking, minimalist insignia. Not only does the cover show the editors’ experiments with design and typography, it also reveals an interest in the female body, one that can be seen throughout the magazine’s content.


 

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Bau: Magazine for Architecture and Urban Planning 1968, Issue ½, Haus-Rucker-Co, Balloon for Two, 1967

Bau became a platform for experimentation and innovation within architecture, and the magazine often featured the work of emerging Austrian architects, particularly from Vienna, from that time. This image documents the installation Balloon for Two – Mind Expanding Programme of 1967 by Haus-Rucker-Co (Zamp Kelp, Laurids Ortner and Klaus Pinter), a radical group of Austrian architects that was founded in Vienna that same year. As a reaction to the rapid urbanisation and increasing environmental pollution of the immediate post-war era, the work of Haus-Rucker-Co explored the possibilities of a new utopian concept of architecture that addressed notions of sustainability and invited sensory experience and intimate introspection. As with many of their other projects, this pneumatic spherical structure (a common trope amongst artists and architects of that time, Buckminster Fuller’s spherical structures being a famous example) which was placed to the side of a Viennese apartment building creates a domestic, hermetic cocoon for two, cut-off from the hustle and bustle of urban life.


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Bau: Magazine for Architecture and Urban Planning 1968, Issue ½

This image shows the close-up of a lipstick above which can be read: "Everything is Architecture". This somewhat radical, oxymoronic proposition opens the visual essay and manifesto by co-editor Hans Hollein which was published in the 1968 issue 1/2 of Bau Magazine. Hollein proposes a complete new understanding of architecture propelled by the rapid development of technology at the time and the onset of the information age. From a lipstick and a pill to a space suit and the immersive sculptures of French artist Niki de Saint Phalle – all could be considered architectural in a way that both suggests both the expansion and complete dissolution of architecture.


 

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Bau: Magazine for Architecture and Urban Planning, 5-6 1966 (Problems Decorating your Office?, Svoboday Advertisement)

Bau was originally established in 1925 by the Central Association of Austrian Architects as a trade magazine for architecture and urban planning. When a group of radical architects and artists (including Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler and Günther Feuerstein) took over the magazine’s editorship in 1964, they retained its more commercial characteristics. Unlike some of the other experimental architectural magazines that flourished internationally at that time, Bau demarcated itself with its large-sized glossy format and, notably, its use of advertising. This image shows an advertisement for the Austrian office furniture provider, Svoboda. With its striking typography, design and playful imagery, pages like this one can be found throughout the magazine.


 

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Bau: Magazine for Architecture and Urban Planning, Issue 5-6 1965, US Background Collage

This double spread shows a collage by the Bau editors Hans Hollein, Günther Feuerstein and Walter Pichler. This image was published in 1965 in an issue that was entirely dedicated to the USA, and shows not only the editors’ interest in international architectural and artistic practices but also popular culture and the space age, which the US came to emblemise at that time. Here, a steel, spherical structure is mounted by a satellite, an astronaut, a space rocket, as well as key post-war American architectural landmarks, such as Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim museum, highway junctions and industrial buildings.

Everything is Architecture: Bau Magazine opens at the ICA from Wednesday 29 July to Sunday 27 September.

Text by Nazanin Shahnavaz

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