Boris Podrecca is a Slovene-Italian architect and urban designer living in Vienna, Austria. Podrecca is considered by some critics a pioneer of postmodernism. With some of his early works, such as the neuro-physiological institute at Stahremberg Palace (1982), he took a new, more tolerant attitude towards historical architectural forms.
He was born in Belgrade, Serbia (then in Yugoslavia), to a Slovene father and Croatian mother. His father was a Slovene immigrant from the Italian border region known as Julian March (Venezia Giulia), who had fled to the Kingdom of Yugoslavia in order to escape persecution from the Italian Fascist regime. His original Slovene surname, Podreka, had been Italianized to Podrecca in the early 1930s. After World War II, the family moved to Trieste, Italy, where Boris attended a Slovene language elementary school.
Studing in Vienna
In the 1960s, he moved to Vienna to study architecture at the University of Technology where he graduated in 1968 with Professor Roland Rainer. From 1979 to 1981 he worked as an assistant at Technical University of Munich and later, as a guest lecturer at Lausanne, Paris, Venice, Philadelphia, London, Harvard-Cambridge, Boston and Vienna. From 1988 until 2006 he was full professor at the Technical University of Stuttgart and Director of the Institute of Architectural Design and Theory of Space. He is a foreign member of the Serbian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Boris Podrecca became famous with the exhibition of the work of the architect Carlo Scarpa in the church of Chiesa della Carita at the 1984 Venice Biennale and later the Villes d'Eaux exhibition in Paris. He was also responsible for the exhibition of the work of Joze Plecnik in the Pompidou Centre in Paris (1986). As a leading exhibition designer he set up the Biedermeier (Vienna, 1987), Bismarck, Prussia, Germany and Europe (Berlin, 1990) and One Hundred Years of Austria exhibitions (1996).
Podrecca's work in architecture stands out for the multitude of projects he has built, above all in Vienna, the centre of Mitteleuropean culture, where very diverse historic, ethnic and social elements have been layered one over the other through the centuries. In comparing these different styles and cultures, Podrecca reveals a synthesis of design that takes into account the theories and writings of architects and urban planners including Semper, Plecnik and Fabiani, among others. Going beyond the possible historicism of the models he refers to, Podrecca gives prominence to form in his work, to perfection of technical detail, to layout and direct relationship with environment. These aspects are particularly clear in his designs for public spaces and plazas (Leoben, Salzburg, Stuttgart and Trieste), where he re-establishes the dimension of the city path. In all his projects, new architecture interacts with existing constructions to achieve solutions that are always ideal for their context and environment.
Projects of particular significance include the school on Dirmhirngasse in Vienna (1991-1994), which has a transparent walkway connecting the old and new buildings, "La Basilese" insurance offices in Vienna and the landmark Millennium Tower in the same city.
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