Raimund Abraham (July 23rd, 1933 – March 4th, 2010) was born in Lienz, Tyrol. He studied architecture in Graz and had an architectural studio in Vienna in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Abraham emigrated to the United States in 1964 and first taught that year at the Rhode Island School of Design. In 1971 he moved to New York, where he has taught at Cooper Union ever since. In addition to his professorship at Cooper Union, Abraham has taught at Harvard and Yale, the Pratt Institute and at universities in Graz, Houston, London, Strasbourg, and Los Angeles.
This academic life has enabled Abraham to pursue his artistic and scholarly interests in architecture with an emphasis less on building than on thought expressed through an extraordinary body of drawn work, sometimes accompanied by poetic texts. Over the decades, he has built a comparatively small number of structures. His architectural drawings and unrealized winning designs for various competitions, however, reflect the roots of a concise architectural theory, that centers around the unchanging archetypal condition of humankind.
Abraham has received various awards for his architectural designs, among them first prizes for the Rainbow Plaza in Niagara Falls, NY, the International Building Exhibition in West Berlin IBA Berlin 1987, for the Times Square Tower, NY, and for Lungo Lago, Ascona. In 1985 he was awarded a Stone Lion at the third Biennial for Architecture in Venice.
In his final lecture at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) shortly before his death, he made references to Martin Heidegger, Mies van der Rohe, and Aldo van Eyck — whom he described as a "forgotten" architect and "one of the great humanists in modern architecture."
Abraham concluded with the central theme of his work: the primacy of the architectural drawing. He specifically addressed students in the audience: An alternative way of making architecture "means you don't have to become a slave in a corporate office or groupie of a celebrity architect, because all you need is a piece of paper, a pencil and the desire to make architecture."
Raimund Abraham died in a car accident on March 4th, 2010.
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