Architect Raimund Abraham in fatal L.A. crash


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Austrian architect Raimund Abraham, best known in this country for his knife-thin 2002 Austrian Cultural Forum building in Manhattan, was killed in a car crash in downtown Los Angeles early Thursday morning, according to a report from the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc).

Abraham was a visiting faculty member this term at SCI-Arc and delivered a lecture at the school Wednesday night.


SCI-Arc director Eric Owen Moss issued the following statement: ‘Earlier in the evening Raimund delivered a powerful lecture at SCI-Arc, re-stating his enduring love for architecture and his willingness to fight for the design discourse as he defined it. That unique and powerful Abraham advocacy for architecture is irreplaceable. Raimund, We miss you.’

Born in Tyrol in 1933, Abraham spent most of his adult life in New York, and began teaching at Manhattan’s Cooper Union School of Architecture in 1971. He beat out more than 200 other entries to win a competition for the Austrian Cultural Forum, which the architectural historian Kenneth Frampton, who served on the jury that chose Abraham for the commission, called ‘the most significant modern piece of architecture to be realized in Manhattan since the Seagram Building and the Guggenheim Musuem of 1959.’ Abraham himself compared the sharply angled facade of the building to a falling guillotine.

A gathering in honor of the architect will be held Friday at 1 p.m. at SCI-Arc’s W.M. Keck Lecture Hall.

-- Christopher Hawthorne

Photograph: The Austrian Cultural Forum. Credit: Flickr user 2613 say yeah!