The IBA Vienna 2022 has not built anything – is this the future of housing? There are good arguments to answer with yes. But the fact is, Vienna is growing and a lot is being built. Therefore, this IBA spotlights the exemplary buildings and quarters currently under construction and relies on a variety of formats to strengthen the discourse between the actors and a broad public.
Since the first building program of “Red Vienna” in the 1920s until today, the conjunction of sufficient, affordable housing and architectural quality has been on the political agenda. With all its consequences, from land policy to energy supply and quality management.
Today, there is also a vital architectural scene, supplied with young talent by different schools of architecture, and a civil society that develops (and in part also realizes) its visions precisely where the institutions and professional actors have blind spots. You will therefore find many, also controversial answers to the question “How will we live tomorrow?” when the “guiding architects” take you on an architectural tour.
Superblocks or garden city? Alt Erlaa or Pilotengasse?
Even at the time of the greatest housing shortage after World War 1, there were diametrically opposed positions: Adolf Loos, Josef Frank and Margarete Lihotzky advocated the concepts of the garden city movement, while Wagner students such as Hubert Gessner and Schmid / Aichinger developed large-scale housing estates with 4-8 stories.
The debate was taken up again in the 1980s. Model projects such as the Pilotengasse housing estate (Krischanitz, Herzog & de Meuron, Steidle) showed their significant advantages over detached single-family houses. Surprisingly, on the other hand, the “Wohnmaschine” Alt Erlaa (Glück, Requat & Reinthaller, Hlaweniczka) has proved to achieve the “maximum (dwelling) happiness for the maximum number” with over 3000 residential units.
Today and tomorrow: densification, networking, revitalization
The lighthouse projects of IBA Vienna 2022 show the wide range of responses for the future of housing. The integration of functions is a success factor at Gleis 21 (einszueins Architektur) near central station, the energy system distinguishes MGG22 (Charamza, Thalbauer, Thaler Thaler, rajek barosch with FIN) near the Danube floodplains. However, the greatest potential and the hardest challenge lies in the already built city. The qualities of courage and creativity that are indispensable for this can be found in the Geblergasse project (Zeininger Architekten) – this, too, should not be missing from any architectural tour to Vienna.
Text by: Felicitas Konecny, Architectural Tours Vienna