Architecture: Small Package, Big Ideas

A slim tower by an Austrian-born architect shows New York City a future to compare with its past

By the standards of most 24-story buildings, the new Austrian Cultural Forum, which opens this week in New York City, occupies a space the size of a pipe cleaner. In a plot just 25 ft. across, the width of the town house it replaces, Austria's state-sponsored cultural outpost holds a library, galleries, offices and a mini-theater, plus an apartment for the Forum's director. But its real miracle is to squeeze more visual cunning and brainy pleasure into a small space than you can find in whole blocks of dreary office cartons--that is to say, most of midtown Manhattan.

Raimund Abraham,...

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