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Eric Tschaikner. architect
Vienna 2003

Everyone dies twice. Lacan’s observation that physical death is always preceded by a symbolic one is perhaps most applicable to urban subjects. The death of the Palace of the Republic happened years ago. Therefore, the increasingly unbearable rhetoric of reconstruction or reconstitution has to be confronted with the only feasible development concept: a process of decomposition. If we consider the stripping away of buildings as an acceleration of the process of ageing that will speed up the possibilities for new construction, the proposal should be considered as an attempt to construct and orchestrate a slow process of material disintegration – a process which will be a catalyst for transformation and appropriation. The estimated total of 18.279 pre-cast concrete panels of the structure will be dismantled with a speed of seventeen panels per day. The building will dissolve into a patchwork of individual initiatives, which will work towards the playful destruction of the building substance. Having become a people’s space, the totality of the structure will erode until 2010, when its substance has been fully buried in the building’s own former basement.


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