Walter Pichler: 20 Sketches from the Archives

‘Architecture,’ said Walter Pichler, ‘is a brutal matter … It crushes those who cannot stand it.’ Between 1961 and 1963 the sculptor and designer, working in collaboration with the architect Hans Hollein and drawing on conversations with Raimund Abraham and Friedrich Achleitner, introduced a radically adventurous new plasticity to architecture, putting forward imaginary prototypes in which cities might be buried underground as single units or dispersed as continuous sculptural topographies in the landscape; whose dwellings might consist of communication cells, emotive caves or watch towers; and where sacred spaces would be constructed from the interstices between colliding monumental forms.

Walter Pichler (1936–2012), study for an Underground City, 1960–1964. Pen and ink and photo collage on wove paper, 300 × 350 mm. DMC 2367.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketches for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pencil, pen and ink on Japan paper, 241 × 333 mm. DMC 2327.01.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketches for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 210 × 296 mm. DMC 2327.02.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study Sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pencil, pen and ink on wove paper, 280 × 245 mm. DMC 2327.03.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketches for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 163 × 170 mm. DMC 2327.04r.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, 1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 280 × 235 mm. 2327.05v.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, two pieces joined, 223 × 225 mm. DMC 2327.06.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 280 × 235 mm. DMC 2327.07.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketches for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 285 × 430 mm. DMC 2327.08.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 285 × 235 mm. DMC 2327.09.

As some years later with Superstudio (whose proposals were greatly influenced by Pichler’s drawings), these are propositions of studied ambiguity. Questions rather than solutions, they are made to fall on a deliberately uncertain line between art and architecture, the mechanistic and the biomorphic, the domineering and the humane, the ironic and the ideal.

Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, 1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 148 × 256 mm. DMC 2327.18.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 210 × 297 mm. DMC 2327.10.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 350 × 300 mm. DMC 2327.11.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 229 × 304 mm. DMC 2327.12.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 304 × 228 mm. DMC 2327.13.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 215 × 190 mm. DMC 2327.14.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 229 × 303 mm. DMC 2327.15.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketches for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 280 × 235 mm. DMC 2327.16.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, c.1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 298 × 210 mm. DMC 2327.17.
Walter Pichler (1936–2012), Study sketch for the Underground City, 1960–1964. Pen and ink on wove paper, 210 × 297 mm. DMC 2327.49r.

For more sketches from the Pichler archive, register for the catalogue.