Coop Himmelb(L)au

Coop Himmelb(l)au (est. 1968) is a cooperative architectural design firm primarily located in Vienna, Austria and which now also maintains offices in Los Angeles, United States and Guadalajara, Mexico.

In German, coop has a similar meaning to the English "co-op". In German Himmel means sky or heaven, and blau means "blue" while bau means "building" or "to build/construct". So, the name can be interpreted as "Blue Sky Cooperative" or "Heaven Building/Construction Cooperative"

Coop Himmelblau was founded by Wolf Prix, Helmut Swiczinsky and Michael Holzer and gained international acclaim alongside Peter Eisenman, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry with the 1988 exhibition, "Deconstructivist Architecture" at the Museum of Modern Art. Their work ranges from commercial buildings to residential projects.

The office has been trying to change the usual design paradigm since its foundation. The office tries to develop a radical design truth a realistic approach. Their Ideal is to work with complex shapes coming out of a complex process in which the architects mix different mediums such as models, 3-d modeling, parametric tools, sketches and drawings in order to create an unexpected design. The philosophy of the office can be summarised with their 1980s manifesto "Architecture must burn":"We want architecture that has more to offer. Architecture that bleeds, exhausts, that turns and even breaks, as far as I am concerned. Architecture that glows, that stabs, that tears and rips when stretched. Architecture must be precipitous, fiery, smooth, hard, angular, brutal, round, tender, colourful, obscene, randy, dreamy, en-nearing, distancing, wet, dry and heart-stopping. Dead or alive. If it is cold, then cold as a block of ice. If it is hot, then as hot as a tongue of flame. Architecture must burn!"