New York Architecture Images-Upper East Side

The Austrian Cultural Foundation


Raimund Abraham


11 East 52nd Street off Fifth Avenue






Project cost: $80 million 
25 feet wide and 81 feet deep, 24-story tower, 280 feet high


Office Building
David Sundberg, Esto 

On the eve of the completion of Raimund Abraham's winning design (of 226 entries) for the Austrian Cultural Institute New York (ACI) on 52nd Street in Manhattan we present his design and the second, third and fourth place finalists from the 1992 open competition. Architect's and jury's comments are included for each design.

Raimund Abraham: The lateral compression of the site defines the latency of its vertical thrust. Three elementary towers: The Vertebra / Stair Tower, The Core / Structural Tower, The Mask / Glass Tower. Signifying the counterforces of gravity: The Vertebra - Ascension, The Core - Support, The Mask - Suspension. The entire tower rests on the cavity of its public spaces.

Jury: The jury found this scheme to possess a strong formal resolution and to convey at the same time a powerful sense of institutional form. The rich articulation of the inclined infill mass was considered to be both innovative and compelling, particularly in relation to the adjacent set-back facades and the scale of the street. The placement of the vertical circulation to the rear of the site was felt to be felicitous since it enabled the full width of a narrow frontage to be utilized. It was noted that the louvered "mask" facade would require careful detailing and...the balconies on the street should be more fully integrated with the usable floor space.

The Forum is the first major public building in the United States by Austrian-born New York architect Raimund Abraham, who received the commission in 1992 in an international design
competition hosted by the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Austria.

Total area: 30,000 square feet

Site Dimensions
Width: 25 feet
Depth: 81 feet, 4 inches

Height: 278 feet, 6 inches
Floor Area:
Gross: 33,000 square feet
Net: 24,850 square feet

Construction start: 1998
Completion: 2002

Republic of Austria, Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs

Atelier Raimund Abraham, New York, United States

Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft m.b.H. (BIG), Vienna, Austria
Dr. Hartwig A. Chromy, Managing Director
Dipl.-Ing. Gerhard A. Buresch, Managing Director

Developer Representative:
Hanscomb Inc., New York, United States

With thanks to for construction notes and some images. Full article at;