Thursday, September 19, 2013

Center Austria Hosts Two Lectures
in September

The University of New Orleans Center Austria hosts two lectures this month, including one this afternoon.

This afternoon, Center Austria hosts "The Future of the Western Balkans from an Austrian Perspective," a lecture by Thomas Schnoell, consul general of Austria in the U.S. and the future Austrian ambassador to Albania. The lecture begins at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 19 in the Earl K. Long Library, Room 407.

"The Future of the Western Balkans from an Austrian Perspective"

The lecture by future Austrian Ambassador to Albania Thomas Schnoell is slated for 4 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19. 

Next week, Center Austria hosts "Wood Architecture in Europe," a lecture by Hermann Kaufmann of Munich Technical University scheduled at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Liberal Arts Building, Room 197.

An Austrian Ambassador

Schnoell, a career diplomat, entered the Austrian Foreign Ministry in 1997, said Guenther Bischof, director of Center Austria. His posts have included the Austrian Embassy in Paris, where he handled French internal politics and consular affairs.

In 2001, Schnoell became First Secretary at the Permanent Representation of Austria to the European Union in Brussels, where he was responsible for the Western Balkans region.

In 2004 he was appointed Head of Unit for the Western Balkans at the Foreign Ministry in Vienna. His tenure was particularly challenging as, during this period, Montenegro became an independent country and negotiations concerning the status of Kosovo took place in Vienna.

"Wood Architecture in Europe"

The lecture by Hermann Kaufmann of Munich Technical University is slated for 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 24, in the Liberal Arts Building, Room 197. 

In January 2010, Schnoell was appointed Consul General of Austria to the U.S. He is currently based in Chicago. In this capacity, Schnoell oversees the cultural and economic relations between Austria and the Midwest. By the end of 2013 he will move onto his next posting as an Ambassador of Austria in Albania.

Schnoell earned a Master's Degree in Law from Johannes Kepler University in Linz before joining the Austrian Foreign Ministry. He also holds a degree from the prestigious French graduate school École National d'Administration.

A Carpenter and an Architect

Kaufmann is a professor of architecture, with a specialisation in timber and laminated wood constructions, at the Munich Technical University. He hails from a family with a long tradition in the carpentry business.

Helping in his parents' carpentry shop, he gained a direct fascination with wood as a building material and the technical thinking that has molded his work as an architect.

Kaufmann studied architecture at the Technical University in Innsbruck and graduated from the Technical University in Vienna under the mentorship of Professor Ernst Hiesmayr. After two years of practice, he founded his own architectural office consortium with Christian Lenz in 1983. Kaufmann has become a key impresario in the well-known "Vorarlberg School" and has won numerous architectural contests and prizes.

"His attitude as an architect is influenced by the ideas of classical modernism as well as the debates on context of buidlings," said Bischof in a release. "The central theme of his work is the search of comprehensive answers to sustainability of building and sounding the possibilities of modern wood constructions. His purposeful design concepts for wooden structures are architecturally elaborate and also effective in public architecture such as schools, town halls and civic centers."

Kaufmann's long project list includes numerous single-family houses but is distinguished by cautious renewals of old building substances in sensitive village contexts, which prove his fine sense in handling existing architectural culture and landscape. His private housing and public school building constructions are geared towards wood constructions and energy-saving green buildings.


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