Angela Hareiter

Plastik Explodiert - Plastic Explodes, 1965

Plastik explodiert is the first of the four research projects that Angela Hareiter developed at the Technical University in Vienna between 1965 and 1967. Made up of three drawings — Crack, Plastik explodiert; Ansicht and Kombinationen — it illustrates Archigram’s influence on her optimistic vision of the future, as she looks for other forms and other materials for architecture. Hareiter’s project, which is nothing less than an apology for the potential offered by PVC, which “can make both buckets and jewellery” (Roland Barthes), extols its formal and constructive qualities, the ones that will be capable of changing the habitat and patterns of human behaviour, too. Based on a few pieces of plastic which she draws with great technical precision and numbers up to nine in the first ink drawing on transparent paper (Crack, Plastik explodiert), the architect equally proposes making suburban homes, bus shelters, kitchen utensils and toys, all light, durable and colourful, as is specified by the wording of the caption, a sort of injunction to give free rein to the imagination. The other two drawings, which are cross-sections offering various possible combinations, convey this “potential” of plastic as much in terms of spatiality—light, moveable structures, contrasting with all traditional forms (Kombinationen)—as in terms of psychic and physical effects produced in the individual (Ansicht). Plastic architecture ushers in new cognitive experiences, and through the specific nature of the environments it proposes, acts on both body and mind: youthfulness, dynamism and sensual pleasure are the promises it holds out (“Dip into the cool beauty of Lemon…”). Like enthusiastic evidence of Archigram’s pop language, the set of the three Plastik explodiert drawings borrows not only their aesthetic codes (candid colours, allusion to the comic strip) but also the idea that architecture is no longer being conceived in terms of forms, but of uses, environments and events.

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