Raimund Abraham’s Final Work / Photographer Thomas Mayer

House for Music. Photo ©

Raimund Abraham (1933-2010), who would have turned 79 today, was far from your typical architect. A striking figure – usually sporting a black fedora, thick moustache, and cigar – Abraham was a radical thinker who believed passionately in the sacred importance of architecture.

For Abraham, architecture existed just as legitimately in the mind as on the ground; as he put it: “I don’t need a building to validate my ideas.” In fact, many of his visionary drawings were exhibited as art, including in the MOMA. Although most of his designs were never actually built, those that were gained critical acclaim.

He was best known for the Austrian Cultural Forum in New York City, a 24-story, “guillotine-like” building curiously squeezed onto a plot only 25 feet wide. Architectural historian Kenneth Frampton called itthe most significant modern piece of architecture to be realized in Manhattan since the Seagram Building and the Guggenheim Musuem of 1959.”

To celebrate this great mind, we present you his final work, Musikerhaus (House for Music or Musician’s House), as photographed by Thomas Mayer. The House, a former NATO missile base turned artists’ residence/exhibition gallery (you can see the latest exhibition “The Reality of the Unbuilt” in the photos below), will be completed next year.

More photos & quotes, after the break…