Design Studio WS 12/13

City Offline? Reconnecting Kaiserebersdorf


In the Viennese district of Simmering, the last large barracks of the imperial and royal monarchy were built almost one hundred years ago. Monarchy were built. Their use remained until 1955. After that, the housing of refugees within the complex was on the agenda. The surroundings of the buildings are characterized by heterogeneity. On the western side there is a “HUMA shopping park”, but its entrance is turned away from the complex. In the northern part rests an inaccessible grove, otherwise allotment garden plots dominate. Within the framework of this design exercise, it was necessary to set identification measures and to develop architectural interventions, which are capable of working towards a positive urban development. The design work was dedicated to concrete questions concerning the use of the (semi) public space and, further on, the site of the former barracks.


If one takes a closer look at the drafts that have been developed, one cannot help but first identify the needs that have been identified in them. Needs which, at the present time, present themselves to the observer as deficits within the existing urban development situation. First of all, this refers to open spaces or generally accessible areas that actually invite people to stay and offer their users corresponding possibilities in the sense of sports activities or other meaningful daily activities. The need for movement, for meeting each other, communicating with each other, cooking together, exchanging stories, producing objects, but also the need for retreat into one’s own four walls or one’s own small garden thus indirectly emerges in the concepts presented. At first glance, the designs appear to be a richly illustrated concert of wishes or a vision of a new barracks area in Kaiserebersdorf, detached from all financial constraints, within whose boundaries communal cooking will now take place and acquired knowledge will be shared without any restrictions. Along the newly created garden beds, the group gardens and harvests. There is bartering, playing music together and working in solidarity on exchange objects in workshops.

In order to be able to implement and maintain this idea of a communally used urban space, a wide variety of housing forms are being considered and integrated into the existing urban structure in the most diverse ways. From terraced houses with cultivable gardens, to serially arranged micro houses with their own open space, to multi-storey residential buildings in and on whose passages, courtyards and roofs people climb, run and play, a wide variety of ways are presented to condense the urban space beyond its previous status, without having to forego open space that can be experienced and played on. The specificity of the proposed buildings therefore often lies in the connection of these urgently needed open spaces with the building itself. The transitions and zones of transition are thus often the main focus of attention in the course of the design.