Hans Hollein | Transformations
Hans Hollein, born 1934 in Vienna, Austria, studied architecture 1953 to1956 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, 1958 to 1959 at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, and 1959 to 1960 at the College of Environmental Design at University of California in Berkeley, USA. Alongside his work as architect and artist, Hollein is active as a curator and designer of exhibitions.
Hollein once said that “everything is architecture” and more than making an autobiographical statement, he was describing the common thoughts of the architectural movements from the 60’s and 70’s. In the legendary series of photo montages Transformations [1963-68], he integrated objects ranging from an aircraft carrier to a car grill as architectural elements in cityscapes and landscapes.
In the book The Changing of the Avant-Garde. Visionary Architectural Drawings from the Howard Gilman Collection, we can read:
All of Hollein’s drawings in this book are from his Transformations series, created between 1963 and 1968. In each, an agricultural or urban landscape, often apparently barren, becomes the site for a monumental object. The drawings are visual parodies of Le Corbusier’s concept of architecture as an object in the landscape, an idea exemplified in his seminal book Vers une Architecture (Toward a new architecture), with its images of ocean liners, automobiles, and airplanes-examples of technological ingenuity that stand as singular objects, more worthy of an absolute and dominant place in the world than any other current example of monumental architecture.
In 1966 Hollein wrote a text called Transformation, where he said about this topic:
The transformations and transpositions actually need no special explanation. They are charged with a multitude of meanings, there are many layers of a different significance as one’s mind penetrates them, provoking a stream of associations.
In the early 1960s, Hollein actively criticized Functionalism through speeches, writings, drawings and projects. His early designs almost refers to utopias and megastructures in a time [after WW II] when life was no longer seen as a trascendental ideal, but something that can be reproduced by these visionary architects. Megastructures such as the “Walk-on” City [an urban renewal from New York designed in 1963] were designed according to Hollein’s ideas about architecture: “Today for the first time in the history of mankind, at this moment when immensely developed science and perfected technology offer the means, we are building what we want, making an architecture that is not determined by technique, but that uses technique – pure, absolute architecture. Today, man is master over infinite space”.