Shelter Connection – Billrothgymnasium

Architect and artist W.M. Pühringer’s eye-catching hybrid between architecture and art in the middle of the school grounds of Billrothgymnasium secondary school is characterised strong contrasts. First, the artist used different materials, and second, the monumental, massive nature of the overall effect contrasts with the dynamism of the individual components. The rare example of a “constructed sketch” consists of seemingly floating wooden beams, jagged steel trusses, and steel pillars. The colour – bright yellow in combination with the grey aluminium and steel – is one of Pühringer’s signature features.

In late 2022, the ageing pavilion in the schoolyard was damaged in a storm, and one of its protruding arms broke off. Pühringer’s spatial artwork is highly frequented during school hours, being used as an outdoor classroom, for rest between classes, as an open-air stage and for school events. For this reason, the entire school community was extremely pleased when it was renovated at the end of the 2022/23 school year.

W.M. Pühringer was born in Lambach in 1945 and studied architecture at Vienna University of Technology. After several years of working as an architect, he devoted himself entirely to drawing and to object art, before returning to practical implementation and realising several graphic designs as part of art projects. Pühringer was a founding member of the artists’ collective Zünd-up, among others.