Kommunaler Wohnbau - Austria-Forum : AEIOU : english
Community Housing: Until the end of the 19th century most
working class people lived in privately-owned tenements. In order to
alleviate the urgent need for housing, foundations were established at
the turn of the century. It was only after the collapse of the
Austria-Hungary monarchy (1918) that the "suburban movement"
(Siedlerbewegung) developed, supported by the Vienna city government
and originating from self-help organisations (public housing
programmes: Siedlung am Heuberg 1921-1924, Werkbundsiedlung
1930-1932). This movement was soon superseded by the politically
motivated construction of large housing estates ("super-blocks"),
which were to provide about 65,000 new flats by 1934. This programme
was made possible by the Social Democratic government of Vienna, which
passed the law on rent protection (1922), introduced a new building
tax (1923) and bought vast building sites on the outskirts of the
city. The huge new housing estates (George-Washington-Hof 1927-1930,
Karl-Marx-Hof 1926-1930) are characterised by their expressive
architecture and by their social facilities, such as common
laundry-rooms, kindergartens, libraries and so on.
The Per-Albin-Hansson-Siedlung-West (1947), built with concrete containing crushed bricks from war-damaged buildings, was the first housing estate erected by the Vienna city government after World War II. Due to the shortage of land, high-rise buildings in a linear arrangement were constructed. The foremost aim of these buildings was to create as many dwellings as possible, while architectural considerations other than those concerning physical form and arrangement of buildings were relegated to the background. From 1951 to 1970 about 96,000 housing units were created, at first by conventional methods, then with the help of prefabricated systems (Grossfeldsiedlung since 1965).
The 1970s were dominated by the construction of huge housing estates to create community feeling (Siedlung am Schoepfwerk 1967-1973). Since the problems of inordinately large sites had been recognised at that time and the urgent need for flats had declined, public housing concentrated on closing gaps in building space, low-slung buildings and urban renewal projects, where residents were encouraged to take part in the decision-making process. This was the background for the construction of the Hundertwasserhaus, probably the most famous publicly-owned house in Vienna (1983-1985). As the trend changed in the 1970s, experimental projects in the provinces, which had not received much attention until then, came to the fore.
Literature: H. and R. Hautmann, Die Gemeindebauten des Roten Wien, 1980; A. Lichtblau, Wiener Wohnungspolitik 1892-1919, 1984; H. Weihsmann, Das Rote Wien. Sozial-demokratische Architektur und Kommunalpolitik 1919-34, 1985; E. Bramhas, Der Wiener Gemeindebau. Vom Karl-Marx-Hof zum Hundertwasserhaus, 1987.