Cukrowicz Nachbaur The Complexity of Simplicity
Andreas Cukrowicz and Anton Nachbaur’s architecture office in Vorarlberg, Austria, achieved international renown through the Vorarlberg Museum in Bregenz completed in 2013. The museum’s emblematic facade was developed together with artist Manfred Alois Mayr and geometry engineer Urs Beat Roth. This project marks the current pinnacle of work described by Otto Kapfinger as: “The exaggerated homogeneity of their buildings — in form and material — may seem one-dimensional and almost hermetic to some. However, it is the deliberate ‘tidy’ backdrop for the actual event within the spaces: the offering of light and views into the surroundings, the haptic, olfactory, functional values…”
Cukrowicz and Nachbaur’s first exhibition in Germany is thus intentionally restrained in design and translates the expectation of “modesty and self-evidence” that the architects also advocate in their architecture. The central exhibition element is an over-sized desk with a number of project dossiers and numerous material samples. Eight projects are presented that each developed in varying geographic and topographical contexts and represent different design strategies. The dossiers provide an introduction to the history and concept of the buildings. Their surroundings, from which Cukrowicz and Nachbaur derive materiality and form, are depicted though individual traces of materials, intended to be touched, held and combined with each other.
Adhesive film printed with a wood-grain pattern covers the showroom windows, enveloping the gallery space in subdued light. This atmosphere moves visitors toward contemplation and concentration. In front of the gallery, two piles of wood are set up the way form boards are typically arranged to dry. They serve as benches and, in a sense, create a connection between the forest-covered regions of effect and the present space of action in the city.
Parallel to the exhibition, Park Books Zurich published the office’s first comprehensive monograph. Organized like a logbook, the same eight projects exhibited are presented in plans and texts. Essays from Florian Aicher, Otto Kapfinger, Florian Medicus and Rainer Köberl, contributions from artists Urs Beat Roth, Manfred Alois Mayr and Florian Pumhösl, as well as texts by writers Wolfgang Hermann and Wolfgang Mörth, complement the project material. An excerpt from the complete list of works (including over 100 buildings and projects) offers an overview of Cukrowicz and Nachbaur’s creative work since 1992.