Monday, April 15, 2013

The Vienna Model

Tomorrow, Tuesday April 16, is the opening of The Vienna Model, an exhibition at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York curated by Wolfgang Förster and William Menking. The opening includes a panel discussion at 5pm (RSVP required) and a opening reception (no reservations required) following at 6pm. See below for more information on the exhibition that runs until September 2, 2013.


From the ACFNY exhibition page:
This exhibition at the Austrian Cultural Forum New York presents a survey of public housing design in the Austrian capital of Vienna curated by Wolfgang Förster and William Menking. The exhibition will feature 36 case studies in Viennese public housing, accompanied by a responsive series of images of artworks curated by the Austrian collaborative duo Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber.

The City of Vienna has achieved extraordinary milestones with regard to public housing: today, about 60% of the Viennese population lives in municipally built, owned, or managed housing, and the city is clearly in control of the housing market. This stands in stark contrast to the United States, where, in most cases, the private market is the provider of housing and is often even relied upon to rehabilitate existing neighborhoods and create new communities. Vienna’s housing model contributes to a tangible positive impact; for the past four consecutive years, Vienna topped the Mercer “Quality of Living” survey as the city boasting the world’s highest quality of life in the world, was ranked second in The Economist’s 2012 “World’s Most Livable City”, and number eight in Monocle’s 2012 “World’s Most Livable Cities”.

This successful model dates back to the days of “Red Vienna”, in the early 20th century, when the socialist government took an active interest in designing for the masses. That interest has since evolved into a housing-policy that has produced works by a host of prolific architects and studios over the years, such as those of Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, Richard Neutra, and Margarete Schütte Lihotzky.

The projects featured in The Vienna Model are characteristic for contemporary Viennese public housing trends, some little-known outside the city: The Kabelwerk Estate, which involved turning the grounds of an old electrical cable & wiring factory into an entirely new urban area (completed in 2007, Hermann & Valentiny & Partners, Mascha & Seethaler, Schwalm-Theiss-Gressenbauer, Martin Wurnig, pool Architektur, Werkstatt Wien Spiegelfeld, Holnsteiner & Co.). Other examples include an Inter-ethnic housing complex (Peter Scheinfinger and Partners, 1998-2000), Bike City (königlarch architects, 2005 - 2008), and the Sargfabrik (BKK-2, Johnny Winter, 1996 - 2001), a former coffin manufacturing plant turned into a housing complex: this project was planned by a residents’ group in Vienna’s densely built-up fourteenth district, and has since received international acclaim for its outstanding architecture as well as its social concept of introducing a new communal infrastructure into a low-profile urban area.