AUSTRIA - The feld72 team does not like to be circumscribed by the classic definition of a professional architect. They work in both art and architecture, taking on small and large commissions as well as temporary projects. Anne Catherine Fleith, Michael Obrist and Mario Paintner explain why the dialogue with other parties and the participatory approach are important tools for them and what role strategic thinking plays in this process.
feld72 is a multinational team: two of the architects, Peter Zoderer (b. 1973) and Michael Obrist (b. 1972) are from the South Tyrol, Italy; Mario Paintner (b. 1973) is from Austria, Anne Catherine Fleith (b. 1975) from France and Richard Scheich (b. 1972), though born in Australia, is Austrian. They got to know each other while studying architecture at TU Vienna and TU Delft. In 2002 they founded feld72 in Vienna; today they have a second office in Bolzano. Their work has already won them a number of awards. This year they were among the ten finalists for the Chernikhov Prize awarded to the world's most innovative architects under the age of 44.
Anne Isopp: You call yourselves feld72, with the additional subtitle 'Architecture and Urban Strategies'. What exactly do you mean by 'urban strategy'?
Michael Obrist: It simply means we provide a service that has something to do with strategic thinking. The term is supposed to make it clear that this form of thinking is important to us. We have a whole series of very different works that come under the heading of strategy and tactics and that expands the classic field of architecture so as to be able to respond to changed spatial conditions – in the broadest sense of the word – in the contemporary world.
Mario Paintner: Our name, or rather the subtitle, is intended to indicate that our practice has a broad conception of space and architecture. It extends from classic architectural realizations to projects that are purely temporary, ephemeral.
AI: Who actually needs urban strategies?
MP: Nobody. That's also why it's so important to develop them. For us it's not about something that is immediately and ostensibly needed. Lying dormant in something nobody needs are phenomena and potentials that we want to tickle awake with these projects.
MO: And thus nobody who needs it becomes everybody who could use it. Many important things in the world did not come about because they were urgently needed. Rather, the moment they existed, they changed something and suddenly usage scenarios developed. The entire IT revolution was based on this idea: create possibilities. And suddenly we can no longer imagine the world without certain things.
Architecture, Design, Urban planning