Examining the details in Vienna

Completed in 1928, Haus Wittgenstein in Vienna is the result of collaboration between the architect Paul Engelmann and the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Passing from room to room more than 90 years later, intervention is everywhere visible, but nothing — not even gloss white paint — can extinguish the intensity of Wittgenstein’s details: the door handles that took a year to design, the radiators that consumed another. In relation to a ceiling Wittgenstein wanted raised 30mm when the house was nearly finished, a locksmith involved in the project apparently asked: ‘Does a millimetre here or there really matter to you?’ To which Wittgenstein’s reply was a roar.


John Pawson