In 1994 we were invited through Professor Herbert Lachmayer along with six other architectural practices – Odile Decq, Massimiliano Fuksas, Zaha Hadid , Hans Kollhoff, Elsa Prochazka, and the eventual winners Cook & Hawley – were invited through to participate in a competition at Bad Deutsch Altenburg in Lower-Austria to design within the expansive archaeological landscape a gallery-pavilion, open air theatre, a museum extension and a belvedere.
This territory was originally an army outpost of the Roman and became the key centre of Roman fortifications along the Danube. We took a tangential approach, writing an outline of a play based upon the characters involved in formulating the competition – Lachmayer the ‘philospher’, the wealthy rock man who owned a nearby quarry and likely funder, the Carnuntum museum director and the architects. The reason for this approach was a sense that there would be no built outcome. Our design concept envisaged placing ‘crystal cubes’ in the landscape – a set of three would create the museum extension, a pavilion to house the architectural submissions alongside Roman artefacts, a theatre of an open and a closed cube – suggesting ad quadratum used in theatre planning but exploiting the square and its diagonal, the ad quadratum, which played a central role in Roman architecture; and the belvedere, a small glass cube with a schnapps bottle trapped within. The designs were exhibited at the Aedes Gallery East in Berlin, and we presented our scheme as series of translucent drawings on a suspended rail of twelve square glass panels. The winning project was not built.