COOP HIMMELB(L)AU: Future Revisited

Project Description


Brain City Lab

This project resumes COOP HIMMELB(L)AU’s crucial exploration on rule-based urban design, first started 1987 with a masterplan project for the city of Melun-Sénart near Paris, which applies various new concepts from cutting-edge neuroscientific research to urban planning. This research takes its inspiration from an essay by famous neurologist Wolf Singer relating the structure of the human brain to the structure of a city.
For its first presentation at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008, dynamic and fluid computer graphics were projected on a landscape model, superimposing the behaviour of active neurons with a simulation of urban growth.
Here at the ICC the COOP HIMMELB(L)AU team of architects, urbanists, sociologists and programmers presents its latest research results:
Visitors experience through a real-time interactive simulation, visual animations and sounds, how their movements influence the generation of a virtual city.
The goal of the project is to integrate the research results into the urban planning disciplines in order to develop new methodologies, as illustrated by the emergent scenarios on view in this exhibition.

Astro Balloon 1969 Revisited - Feedback Space

Since their establishment in 1968, COOP HIMMELB(L)AU presented a number of futuristic "architectural" prototypes of dwellings which are responsive to their inhabitants’ sensibilities and activities. The idea for this work originates in the 1969 experiment “Heart Space - Astro Balloon”, a version in which a transparent balloon accomodating a single user would translate his or her heartbeat via sensors to synchronized light and sound effects. Later in their 1971 “Feedback Vibration City” they imagined a city which would mutate to reflect the pulse, breath, alpha brainwaves and movements of its inhabitants.
“Astro Balloon 1969 Revisited - Feedback Space” was realized by combining these two previously presented works, and debuted at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2008. In this new configuration two visitors would enter the transparent balloon, which resembles a brain or another internal organ, and would touch the interface with their hands, initiating moving image, lighting on opaque sheets and sounds triggered in realtime by their heartbeats. The resulting installation is a cloud-like, semi-transparent and reflective floating space. The latest version will be reproduced and on view in this exhibition.




COOP HIMMELB(L)AU Wolf D. Prix/ W. Dreibholz & Partner ZT GmbH
Design Principal: Wolf D. Prix
Project Partner: Markus Pillhofer
Project Manager: Felix Gmeiner
Designer: Thomas Hindelang
Project Team: Cynthia Kallmeyer, Volker Gessendorfer, Isabelle Ost, Nora Schlögl, Timo Rieke, Vanessa Castro, Caroline Ecker, Ivo de Nooijer
Model: Paul Hoszowski, Nam La-Chi, Sebastian Buchta
3D/Milling: Lukas Galehr, Anna Stürtzenbecher
Logistics: Paul Biernat


Technical Production: Conceptual Art Technologies | Cat-x, Vienna, Austria
Technical Concept & Installation: Florian Prix, Guenther Schiebeck
Programming & Visualization: Hannes Köcher (, Vienna, Austria
Consultants: Artex, Artex Art Services, Vienna, Austria
Schultes, Schultes Pneus, Vienna, Austria

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