“Red Vienna” was the nickname given to the city between 1918 and 1934, when Social Democrats held the majority following the end of monarchy rule by the Hapsburgs.  My post will not go into the complicated social policies prevalent during this time, many of which remain; that is probably better reserved for PhD theses. I will, though, share a few photos of my recent outing to the Karl Marx Hof Wachsalon with you.

Community Housing (Gemeindebau) was a huge tenet of Red Vienna, and the largest (and most oft visited by tourists) is the kilometer long Karl Marx Hof complex, very much a NIMBY issue here in the 19th district, even today. One of the communal bath houses of the complex has been converted to a museum describing the history of this movement, and so I took an afternoon to explore.

One hour of bathing time. 

 Required reading. But perhaps not during bath time.

Many of the community housing complexes were elaborate, offering medical care, kindergartens, libraries and movie theaters.

 Misery loves company?

I’ve walked through a couple on my way here and there, and although simple and perhaps stark in style on the street side, many of these Gemeindebau also have beautifully landscaped interior courtyards.  All said, there are over 220,000 apartments in over 2,300 of these buildings across Vienna, dating from 1921 to as recently as the mid-1980s. The buildings are intriguing enough to inspire further exploration…