Gustav Peichl (1928-2019)

John Hill, Falk Jaeger
20. November 2019
Gustav Peichl at Vienna City Hall in June 2013 (Photo: Franz Johann Morgenbesser / CC BY-SA 2.0 )

Architect Gustav Peichl, born in Vienna in March 1928, died at his home in Grinzing, a district of Vienna, on Sunday, November 17 at the age of 91.

Peichl realized around 70 buildings in his 50-year career. He made his mark on every state in Austria through the regional studios for ORF (Österreichischer Rundfunk / Austrian Broadcasting Corporation), including those in Linz, Salzburg, Innsbruck, and Dornbirn. They were all built according to the same design and construction, with pie-shaped offices radiating from a central hall. The somewhat modular designs generated in the late 1960s, with their chrome rails and antennas, seemed to anticipate, or at least coincide with, the high-tech movement that began to flourish around that time, particularly in the UK.

ORF regional studio in Burgenland (Photo: Deneb, via Wikimedia Commons)

Peichl would give significant attention to "lowly" structures, as in the phosphate elimination plant he designed as part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA) in Berlin in the mid-1980s. The building appears like a freighter ashore, a metaphor that arose from the desire to bring a significant form to a rather boring environment. Later he built the Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany (1992) in Bonn, easily his most recognized building, and the kindergarten next to the parliament in Berlin, with two domes that are unequivocally reminiscent of the nursing mother!

Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn (Photo: Raimond Spekking, via Wikimedia Commons)

Peichl, who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna until 1953, also worked as a cartoonist under the pseudonym "Ironimus," publishing with such major newspapers as Kurier, Express, and Süddeutsche Zeitung. The cartoons expressed Peichl's humor and frivolity as well as his occasional corrosiveness.

From 1973 to 1996 he was Professor and Head of the Master School of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. In 2014 he donated his archive of approximately 8,000 drawings to MAK - Museum of Applied Arts in Vienna. In turn, MAK had Peichl select some projects and drawings for the exhibition GUSTAV PEICHL: 15 Buildings for His 90th last year.

A version of this article originally appeared on German-Architects under the same title.

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