Sense of Architecture

Photography and beyond – Part 11
Photographie und jenseits – Teil 11

Film by Heinz Emigholz


Austria/Germany 2009, HDV, 168 min


Premiere: BERLINALE, February 6, 2009  


The film SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE shows 42 contemporary architectural projects of Austrian origins. Shooting took place between June 2005 and November 2006. As an independent work, the film emerged from the material for 57 short films that Heinz Emigholz produced for the traveling exhibition conceived in Graz, Sense of Architecture.

Sense of Architecture

Copyright for all Stills by Heinz Emigholz / Artimage

„Murinsel“ (2003) in Graz von Vito Acconci in SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE von Heinz Emigholz (2009)

Photography and beyond - Part 11

Film by Heinz Emigholz

Austria/Germany 2005-2009
HDV, 168 min, screening ratio 1:1,37

Direction, camera, editing: Heinz Emigholz
Camera- and editing assistence: Till Beckmann
Original sound: Till Beckmann
Sound design and mixing: Jochen Jezussek, Christian Obermaier
Post-production: Till Beckmann
Curator: Charlotte Pöchhacker
Websites: /
Produced by Heinz Emigholz Filmproduktion, Berlin, in Cooperation with ARGE Kadadesign Artimage, Graz
Supported by "kultur steiermark"

„Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir“ (2006) in Paris von FEICHTINGER ARCHITECTS in SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE von Heinz Emigholz (2009)The Exhibition SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE was curated by Charlotte Pöchhacker and designed by Alexander Kada. Unlike the exhibition, which grouped the architecture thematically, the new Film SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE assembles the project into a social reality in which modern buildings were constructed for all areas of life. Der Film starts with a bell tower in the Seetaler Alps and a construction site and then leads through the various stages of a fictive life: from a kindergarden, a single-family home, a botanical garden, ein track house, a pharmacy, a housing development, a museum for children, an apartment house with a workshop, a dialect institute, an art house, an office building, a shool, a shoe shop, an apartment block, a town hall, a community center, a medical center, past a pedestrian bridge, in a room for studying, an airport tower, a church reconstruction, a community center, a reginal exhibition, a residential area, a city council, a renovated castle, a villa, a restaurant, a hall, a building extension, a justice center, a prison, a cloister, an art house, a hospital, a vacation house, a castle, a museum, a stone house, a nursing home, a crematorium, and to a columbarium.

The filmed projects are in the order of their appearance: "Glockenturm" (2000) in Oberweg by Markus Pernthaler, construction site "Villa Trojer" (2005) in Matrei by Gerhard Mitterberger, "Kindergarten Dornschneidergasse" (2001) in Graz by Architekten Wratschko, "Haus R" (2002) in Graz by Feyferlik/Fritzer, "Gewächshäuser Botanischer Garten Universität Graz" (1995) by Volker Giencke, "Das Haus mit der Elefantenhaut" (2005) in Zurndorf by PPAG architects, pharmacy "Zum Löwen von Aspern" (2003) in Wien by ARTEC Architekten, "Wohnbau Carl-Spitzweg-Gasse" (1993) in Graz by Volker Giencke, "Kindermuseum" (2003) in Graz by fasch&fuchs, "Haus Werkstatt" (1995) in Hart near Graz by Michael Haberz, "Dialektinstitut" (2004) in Oberschützen by Hans Gangoly, "Kunsthaus Weiz" (2005) by FEICHTINGER ARCHITECTS, "T-Center St. Marx" (2004) in Vienna by Architektur Consult, "Stift Seckau" (2000) by Volker Giencke, "Albrecht 7" (2005) in Graz by PURPUR.ARCHITEKTUR, "Schwarzer Laubfrosch" (2004) in Bad Waltersdorf by SPLITTERWERK, "Stadthalle Graz" (2002) by Klaus Kada, "Gemeindezentrum Trahütten" (2001) by Hans Gangoly, construction site "Arztzentrum" (2005) in Matrei by Gerhard Mitterberger, "Passerelle Simone de Beauvoir" (2006) in Paris by FEICHTINGER ARCHITECTS, "Raum Zita Kern" (1998) in Raasdorf by ARTEC Architekten, "Flughafen Tower Schwechat" (2005) in Wien by Zechner & Zechner, "Basilika Mariazell" (since 1992) by Feyferlik/Fritzer, "Gemeindezentrum St. Nikolai" (2004) by Gerhard Mitterberger, "Kärntner Landesausstellung" (1995) in Hüttenberg-Heft by Günther Domenig,"Casa Nostra" (1992) in Graz by Riegler Riewe, "Bezirkshauptmannschaft Murau" (2002) by Wolfgang Tschapeller and Friedrich W. Schöffauer, "Generalsanierung Museum Schloss Bruck" (2000) in Lienz by Gerhard Mitterberger, "Haus T" (2005) in Graz by Feyferlik/Fritzer, "Murinsel" (2003) in Graz by Vito Acconci, "Helmut-List-Halle" (2002) in Graz by Markus Pernthaler, "Wohnhaus B. Kada" (1997) in Leibniz by Klaus Kada, "Justizzentrum Loeben" (2004) by hohensinn architektur, "Geistliches Haus" (since 1992) in Mariazell by Feyferlik/Fritzer, "Kunsthaus Graz" (2003) by Spacelab Peter Cook & Colin Fournier, "Landeskrankenhaus Hartberg" (1999) by Klaus Kada, "Grüner Laubfrosch" (2004) in St. Josef by SPLITTERWERK, "Generalsanierung Schloss Trautenfels" (1992) by Manfred Wolff-Plottegg, "Lapidarium Eggenberg" (2004) in Graz by PURPUR.ARCHITEKTUR, "Steinhaus" (since 1983) in Steindorf at Ossiachersee by Günther Domenig, "Sozialzentrum Passail" (2002) by Gerhard Mitterberger and "Krematorium und Urnenhain" (2003) in Linz by Klaus Kada.

The Publication SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE (ISBN 978-3-9500284-4-7) with more than 600 photographs by Heinz Emigholz was published by Artimage, Graz, on the occasion of the exhibition SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE at the 11. MOSTRA INRENAZIONALE DI ARCHITECTURA in Venice 2008.

A Plane On Which To Think


(Marc Ries in conversation with Heinz Emigholz about his architecture films:)
Ries: What is interesting for you, coming from drawing, from experimental film, about architecture, about the architecture film?
Emigholz: What interests me is architecture's capacity or incapacity to design and situate spaces in relation to the human body and mind. I have always perceived "space" as tricky. As the internal space of my own body and the external space in which I can or must move. Now at first, whether these are artificial or natural spaces plays no role, for me the whole relation rests on a knife’s edge. It took me nearly forty years to find something like a balance here. My films probably helped me in this regard. In the sense of an anchor, not in the sense of a media category or genre.
Is there a formal proximity between constructed spaces and film spaces for you?
They are products of two practically opposing processes of configuration. Architecture projects a spacial concept into reality and sets it up there as a three-dimensional situation. The film then takes this space and translates it with the camera into a two-dimensional image, which is projected before us in a temporal arrangement. This is a design process inscribed with the real. This repetition – from the idea to the real space and over the image’s surface and back again to the space of thinking–is remarkable. But, as everyone knows and as Kierkegaard found out, there are no "repetitions". Something else arises instead: a plane on which to think. Cinema produces a second physical presence in which an active spectator can newly reconfigure the story for himself. The capacity to understand, as Constantine Cavafy wrote so beautifully, is spoiled by fashions. My films are on the side of understanding.
Doesn't a commissioned work like one documenting contemporary architecture in Styria present the problem of "recognizing the object"?
The works by the architects that I filmed in my series Architecture as Autobiography have had a great deal to do with this contemporary architecture. Many of the current ideas of space, construction tasks and solutions, converge in this contemporary practice. There were reasons why I was asked. They were derived from the knowledge of my film work. The curatorial decision to produce all the films and photographs for the exhibition is uncharted ground, and it happens so rarely that it played a decisive role in my decision. Typically, for exhibitions of this magnitude, already existing materials are merely collected and newly arranged. In this project, however, the connecting power lies between the works presented in one visual work that references all the participating objects – that is, in the primacy of producing new images through a particular gaze.


FilmComment, May/June 2009:


"The film presents 42 new buildings, restorations, and redesigns, arranged in the form of a tour through modern civilized life... SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE is an epic of change and progress driven by human development."

„Helmut-List-Halle“ (2002) in Graz von Markus Pernthaler in SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE von Heinz Emigholz (2009)

„Das Haus mit der Elefantenhaut“ (2005) in Zurndorf von PPAG architects in SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE von Heinz Emigholz (2009)

„Bibliothek von Alexandria“ (2002) in Ägypten von snøhetta in SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE von Heinz Emigholz (2009)

„Kunsthaus Graz“ (2003) von Spacelab Peter Cook & Colin Fournier in SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE von Heinz Emigholz (2009)

„Bezirkshauptmannschaft Murau“ (2002) von Wolfgang Tschapeller und Friedrich W. Schöffauer in SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE von Heinz Emigholz (2009) 


Kritik des Films in der TAZ vom 7. Februar 2009 




 Einladung und Termine Berlinale SENSE OF ARCHITECTURE

Filmvorführung, Podiumsdiskussion, Buchpräsentation

Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart – Berlin
Invalidenstraße 50-51, 10557 Berlin