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Opening: 20 March 2003, 7 pm
Welcome address: Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Introductory words: August Sarnitz, curator of the exhibition, Associate Professor at the IKA (Intitute for Art and Architecture), Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Exhibition: 21 March - 20 April 2003
Opening hours: daily from 11 am to 6 pm
Free admission
Aula and Exhibition spaces of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Schillerplatz 3, A-1010 Vienna

The Austrian-New Zealand architect, urban planner, furniture designer, and teacher Ernst A. Plischke (1903-1992) was the main pioneer of classical modern architecture in Austria. Commemorating his 100th birthday, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, which Plischke was associated with both as Peter Behren's student and as a professor for architectural design from 1963 to 1973, shows a comprehensive exhibition including new material from Austria and New Zealand.

Presenting photographs, plans, models, and publications, the exhibition "Modern Architecture and the New World - The Complete Works" provides the first complete documentation of Plischke's buildings and urban projects, discussing them within the context of the "project of modernity." This discursive, interdisciplinary approach, which also characterizes the accompanying catalogue, has brought to light a number of unexpected aspects such as the intense colorfulness and differentiated materiality of Plischke's spatial creations.

© Plischke Estate|Kahn House, 1940-1941, Wellington, New Zealand   Kahn House, 1940-1941, Wellington, New Zealand
© Plischke Estate

According to the political history of the 20th century, Plischke's life and work fall into three parts. His formative years and the time of his first successes in Austria were followed by his emigration to New Zealand in 1939 from where he did not return before 1963 to become a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. Plischke numbers among the protagonists of the second generation of modernity. He worked for Josef Frank and was a tutor of the New York architect William Muschenheim. His admiration of Le Corbusier is evidenced by many of his works and urban planning projects.

Because of his years in exile, Ernst A. Plischke was probably the "most international" Austrian architect of his generation. There is some common ground with both Lois Welzenbacher (1889-1955), with whom he shares the vocabulary of modernity and the landscape-related way of building, and Rudolf M. Schindler (1887-1953), who had studied in Vienna as he had and found a possibility of realizing his experimental ideas and new interpretations in Los Angeles.

Plischke's buildings stand for a poetic and human architecture. This trait is something linking him with Alvar Aalto (1898-1976), whose architectural planning also focuses on the user and who developed buildings granting an outstanding quality of life. Plischke's strong points were residential building and the continuous refinement of means after all. Endowed with missionary zeal, he, as an architect and as a teacher, fought to gain acceptance for modernity. Publications like "Design and Living" (1947) and "Vom Menschlichen im neuen Bauen" ("On the Human Aspect of Modern Architecture," 1969) elucidate his notions of building.

© Plischke Estate|Portrait, 1947   Portrait, 1947
© Plischke Estate

Ernst A(nton) Plischke
Born in Klosterneuburg in 1903, Plischke attended the Arts and Crafts College (Kunstgewerbeschule) of the Austrian Museum of Art and Industry (Österreichisches Museum für Kunst und Industrie) in Vienna (teachers: Oskar Strnad and Josef Frank) from 1919 to 1923. He studied architecture with Peter Behrens at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna from 1923 to 1926. In 1928, he founded his own architectural office. In 1929, he became a member of the Austrian Werkbund and participated in its exhibitions.
In 1939, Ernst A Plischke and his wife Anna left Austria for Wellington, New Zealand, via London. Plischke worked for the Ministry of Housing's Department of Housing Construction from 1939 to 1942 and for the Department of Town Planning from 1943 to 1947. He became a community planner and was appointed director of the department. In 1948, he quit public service and, with Cedric H. Firth, founded the studio "Plishke & Firth."
1963-1973 Professor of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (succeeding Clemens Holzmeister); 1965-1973 Head of the Institute for Sacral Art; 1965/1966 President of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna; 1967-1970 Vice-President; 1973 emeritus.
Ernst A. Plischke died in Vienna at the age of 89 on 23 May 1992.

Selected awards and honors
"Großer Staatspreis" for Fine Art (awarded for architecture for the first time, 1935), City of Vienna Award for Art (1961, in the absence of the winner); Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and the Arts, First Class (1973), Honorary Member of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna (1983); Honorary Member of the American Institute of Architects (1987); Golden Medal of Honor for Science and the Arts (1988); Honorary Member of the Austrian Society of Architecture (1988).

Selected buildings
Hans and Lucie Rie Flat (Vienna, 1928-1929), Employment Office Building Wien-Liesing (1930), Employment Office Building Gmünd (1930-1931), Employment Office Building Amstetten (1931-1933), Gamerith House (Attersee, 1933-1934), Massey House (Wellington, 1951-1957), Sutch House (Wellington, 1953-1956), Frey House (Graz, 1970-1973), Koller-Glück House (Vienna, 1972-1974).

© Plischke Estate|Sutch House, 1953-1956, Wellington, New Zealand   Sutch House, 1953-1956, Wellington, New Zealand
© Plischke Estate

Program in the exhibition spaces

Tuesday, 25 March 2003, 7 pm
Lynda Tyler (Chief Librarian, University of Otago, New Zealand)
E. A. Plischke in New Zealand
(lecture in English)

Tuesday, 8 April 2003, 7 pm
Joost Meuwissen (Professor for Urban Planning, Academy of Fine Arts Vienna)
E. A. Plischke: Buildings and Designs
(lecture in German)

© Plischke Estate|Employment Office Liesing, 1930-1931, Vienna, Austria   Employment Office Liesing, 1930-1931, Vienna, Austria
© Plischke Estate

Additional Events commemorating E. A. Plischke's 100th birthday

Ernst A. Plischke as a Furniture Designer
The Imperial Furniture Collection, Andreasgasse 7, A-1070 Vienna
20 March - 29 June 2003
Further details:

Symposium: Lectures and Panel Discussion
Ernst A. Plischke and the Austrian Avant-Garde in Exile
Architekturzentrum Wien
21 March 2003, 10 am - 8 pm
Further details:

Translation: Wolfgang Astelbauer