Lecture Series SoSe 2023

Carl Pruscha – An unusual architect

In architecture – as in art – life and work are usually closely intertwined.
Carl Pruscha is an unusual architect. His works can be found in three geographically distant places that have had a strong influence on him. New York, Kathmanu and Vienna. In the United States, Pruscha designed visionary and utopian projects. He found reality in Nepal, where the UN sent him in 1964 as a consultant. In the foreign culture, the young architect grew on specific tasks. In addition to complex planning proposals for the Kathmandu Valley, he realized remarkable buildings that combine tradition and modernity, in harmony with the natural and cultural landscape.
After his return to Vienna in 1974, his committed academic and social attitude became obvious. As rector of the Academy of Fine Arts, the bustling bohemian became a defining figure on the Viennese architectural scene.
Carl Pruscha lives architecture in a variety of different influences, which come together in his architectural concepts and ideas as well as his realized projects. In this sense his life and work could stand for what the title of the lecture series expresses: “affect and be affected”.

Carl Pruscha is an Austrian architect and was Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna from 1988 on. He studied architecture at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts between 1955 and 1960 with Lois Welzenbacher and Roland Rainer and at Harvard University, Boston, until 1964. Following his studies, he spent ten years in Nepal as a UN and UNESCO adviser to the Nepalese government on spatial planning. After a teaching period in the USA, he was appointed professor for planning principles and building research at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1978.
From 1988 to 2001, Carl Pruscha was Rector of the Academy. Under his aegis, teaching was restructured, and the academy’s curriculum expanded. Various spatial expansion projects for the academy were implemented, such as the construction of the academy courtyard in Makartgasse and the renovation of the Semper depot.
In 2001 he moved to the Chair of Design and Habitat, Environment & Conservation from which he retired in 2004.
Carl Pruscha received numerous awards for his works, including the Austrian Decoration of Honor for Science and Art and the Golden Decoration of Honor for Services to the State of Vienna.