COOP HIMMELB(L)AU was founded by Wolf D. Prix, Helmut Swiczinsky, and Michael Holzer in Vienna, Austria, in 1968, and is active in architecture, urban planning, design, and art. In 1988, a second studio was opened in Los Angeles, USA. Further project offices are located in Frankfurt, Germany and Paris, France. COOP HIMMELB(L)AU employs currently 150 team members from nineteen nations.
The architectural studio COOP HIMMELB(L)AU is directed by Wolf D. Prix, Harald Krieger, Karolin Schmidbaur and Project Partners. Those are Michael Beckert, Luzie Giencke, Andrea Graser, Helmut Holleis, Markus Pillhofer, Markus Prossnigg, Frank Stepper, and Michael Volk.
After Michael Holzer left the team in 1971, and with the retirement of Helmut Swiczinsky in 2001 from COOP HIMMELB(L)AU’s daily operations and in 2006 from the office, Wolf D. Prix is leading the studio as Design Principal/ CEO. From 2000 until 2011, Wolfdieter Dreibholz was part of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU as CEO and Partner. In 2003 Harald Krieger was designated Partner of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU and is managing director of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU Europe GmbH, Frankfurt/ M., Germany, since 2006, and became CFO of the studio in 2011. Karolin Schmidbaur was made Partner of the office in 1996 and is currently Design and Managing Partner of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU Vienna (since 2009) as well as the Director of the office in Los Angeles, California (since 2003). In 2012 Louise Kiesling was appointed Head of Interior and Product Design.
COOP HIMMELB(L)AU’s most well-known projects include: the Rooftop Remodeling Falkestraße in Vienna (1988) ; the master plan for the City of Melun-Sénart in France; the Groninger Museum, East Pavilion in Groningen (1994) in the Netherlands; the design for the EXPO.02—Forum Arteplage in Biel, Switzerland (2002); the multifunctional UFA Cinema Center in Dresden, Germany (1998); the Academy of Fine Arts (2005) and the BMW Welt (2007) in Munich, Germany; the Akron Art Museum in Ohio, USA (2007); the Central Los Angeles Area High School #9 of Visual and Performing Arts in Los Angeles, USA (2008); the Pavilion 21 MINI Opera Space in Munich, Germany (2010); the Martin Luther Church in Hainburg, Austria (2011); the Busan Cinema Center in Busan, South Korea (2011) and the Dalian International Conference Center in China (2012).
COOP HIMMELB(L)AU realized further key projects in Vienna in the past years, including the SEG Apartment Tower (1998), followed by the SEG Apartment Block Remise (2000); the Apartment Building Gasometer B (2001); the Apartment and Office Building Schlachthausgasse (2005); and the Apartment Building ‘Liesing Brewery’ (2011).
Among the recent projects that COOP HIMMELB(L)AU is pursuing throughout the world are the Musée des Confluences in Lyon, France (2014); the House of Music in Aalborg, Denmark (2013); and the European Central Bank’s new headquarters in Frankfurt am Main, Germany (2014). Additional projects in planning are the Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition in Shenzhen, China (2014); the Expansion of the Fair and Multifunctional Hall in Riva del Garda, Italy (2014); the Central Bank of Azerbaijan, Baku Azerbaijan (2014) as well as The Open Parliament of Albania in Tirana, Albania.
Over the course of the past four decades, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU has received numerous international awards. These include: the Förderungspreis für Baukunst, Berlin (1982), the Award of the City of Vienna for Architecture (1988), the Erich Schelling Architektur Preis (1992), the Progressive Architecture/ P. A. Award (1989, 1990, and 1991), the Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis (1999) as well as the European Steel Design Award (2001). In 2005, for the design of the Akron Art Museum, our studio received the American Architecture Award. Our studio was awarded for the 2007 International Architecture Award for four projects. In 2008 COOP HIMMELB(L)AU received the RIBA International Award for the Akron Art Museum. In the same year the RIBA European Award and the World Architecture Festival Award: Production were given for the project BMW Welt. In 2010, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU won the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Award in the category sustainability for their project Town Town Erdberg. In 2011 the office received the Wallpaper* Design Award 2011 (Category: "Best Building Sites") for the project Dalian International Conference Center, the Dedalo Minosse International Prize for the project BMW Welt as well as the Red dot award: product design (Category: “Architecture”) for the Central Los Angeles Area High School #9 of Visual and Performing Arts.
Recognized as seminal for the architecture of the future, the works of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU have continually been the subject of international exhibitions. Among the largest and most widely known are the solo retrospectives Construire le Ciel in 1992 at the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France, and the exhibition entitled Deconstructivist Architecture held in 1988 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, under the curatorship of Philip Johnson and Mark Wigley.
Internationally renowned institutions such as the Getty Foundation in Los Angeles, the Austrian Museum of Applied Arts/Contemporary Art (MAK) in Vienna, and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris display the works of COOP HIMMELB(L)AU as part of their permanent exhibitions.
In 1996, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU was invited to serve as the Austrian representative to the 6th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy. Since then, our studio has been a regular participant, presenting several projects such as the Musée des Confluences and the Guangzhou Opera House. The Musée des Confluences in Lyon was additionally shown at the Latent Utopias exhibition in Graz, Austria, from October 2002 to March 2003.
COOP HIMMELB(L)AU has also been presented on several occasions at the Aedes East Gallery in Berlin, for example, at well-known shows such as Skyline in 1985, The Vienna Trilogy + One Cinema in 1998, and the exhibition on the competition for the BMW Event and Delivery Center in 2002. In the same year, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU was also present at the 8th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy, with the projects BMW Welt and a design for the new World Trade Center. In 2007/08, the exhibition COOP HIMMELB(L)AU. Beyond the Blue was shown at the MAK in Vienna and traveled in 2009 to the Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, USA. At the 11th International Architecture Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia, Italy, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU has been presented with two contributions: Astro Balloon 1969 Revisited - Feedback Space at L’ Arsenale and Brain City Lab at Padiglione Italia. The two installations were also shown in 2009, at the COOP HIMMELB(L)AU: Future Revisited exhibition at NTT InterCommunication Center [ICC] in Tokyo, Japan. In 2011 the solo exhibition “Architecture is the Media and the Media is the Message” was shown at the Design Center in Busan, South Korea.
COOP HIMMELB(L)AU has also designed several exhibitions. Among their best known works are Paradise Cage: Kiki Smith and Coop Himmelb(l)au, shown in 1996 at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, and in 2000 Rudi Gernreich: Fashion will go out of fashion, for the Steirischer Herbst festival in Graz, Austria, which also traveled to Philadelphia, USA. In 2012, on the occasion of Wolf D. Prix’s 70th birthday, the Aedes Architecture Forum Berlin devoted the exhibition COOP HIMMELB(L)AU: 7+ Wolf D. Prix & Partner Projects Models Plans Sketches Statements to COOP HIMMELB(L)AU.