uncompromising austerity…

FÖHN is an exhibition inspired by the story of one man’s obsessive construction of a utopian building for his sister in the middle of a forest.

Drawing for FÖHN by Nissen Adams Architects.

Lesson / Koan : obsess over & over

The exhibition  FÖHN also comes from the 1975 novel Correction, by Thomas Bernhard, and alludes ‘obliquely‘ to Ludwig Wittgenstein’s design and construction in Vienna of a house of uncompromising austerity and clarity of line.


Correction’s set is a garret in the middle of an Austrian forest, described by the narrator as a type of “thought dungeon”. 

The scientist Roithamer has dedicated the last six years of his life to “the Cone,” an edifice of mathematically exact construction that he has erected in the center of his family’s estate in honor of his beloved sister.

Föhn: a warm, dry, Alpine wind-blown from the Sahara which leaves traces of red sand on the snow and is believed to cause ‘Föhn Sickness’ leading to…

Image for FÖHN by Nissen Adams Architects.

Guest curator, Rob Wilson from the Royal Institute of British Architects, asked for copies of Bernhard’s Correction to be sent to a number of architects and artists, and invited them to respond to the text by contributing either existing work or by producing new sketches, or proposals. Chelsea Space was loosely divided into a dark (forest) space and a light (mountain) space depending on the responses of the invited architects and artists.

Invitees :

Allies & Morrison Architects FAT Ltd.
Leo Fitzmaurice
5th Studio
Joseph Gandy
Lothar Goetz
Clare Goodwin
Fergus Henderson
Daniel Hunziker
Charles Mason
de Matos Storey Ryan Ltd.
Nissen Adams Architects
Quinlan & Francis Terry Architects
Sergison Bates Architects
Yuko Shiraishi
Sigrid Stabel
Ullmayer Silvester Architects
Ed Wilson
Elizabeth Wright


föhn – noun, variant spelling of foehn .

foehn |fān; fœn| (also föhn)noun (often the foehn)a hot southerly wind on the northern slopes of the Alps.• (also foehn wind) Meteorology a warm dry wind of this type developing in the lee of any mountain range.

ORIGIN mid 19th cent.: from German Föhn, based on Latin (ventus) Favonius ‘mild west wind,’ Favonius being the Roman personification of the west or west wind.