public or municipal housing), for I now have a dizzying new social research/photo project to share with you!
Public housing is not just plain old public housing here. Its roots lie in the Red Vienna period from 1918 to 1934 when Social Democrats held the majority governing rule at the end of WWI and the Hapsburg Empire. Seeking to improve the living conditions of over 2 million people, many of whom could not afford more than to rent a bed in a tenement house for a few hours, community housing was born in Vienna.
About twenty-five percent of Vienna’s residents now reside in the city’s 1.800+ community housing buildings, and this housing has had many, many forms as the city moved through its pre-war, between wars and post-war phases. As it is not my intent to compose a dissertation on the subject, just to share what I find as I wander through each of Vienna’s 23 districts, you’ll have to pardon the disjointed nature of my posts.
The Karl-Marx-Hof is the classical Red Vienna community housing (constructed between 1927 and 1930), and one that brings tourists up into the neighborhood. It is a massive kilometer-long mini-village, with kindergartens, doctor’s offices, libraries, and on and on; plus, it is the longest public housing building in the world. This is a photo from the Internet because currently there is scaffolding across the front of the building.
One of the passageways into a courtyard at Karl-Marx-Hof. Doesn’t look inviting, does it?
A courtyard apartment balcony, however, was most welcoming.
Some post-war housing is but a nameless monolith stretching along a city block…
…while other post-war construction is decorated with beautiful mosaic art to disguise the barren architecture. There is a German-language only book describing this “Kunst am Bau” (art on the building); maybe I’ll save that for a little light wintertime reading.
Construction date: 1958-1960.
Construction date 1953-1954.
I could not find the construction date on these two buildings, but I did notice common elements between the two mosaics.
Whimsical art in a shaded area of a Gemeindebau.
Some buildings are named for various persons of note. Edwin Schuster was a railwayman and resistance fighter (and farmer here in the 19th) who in the early years of the war was deported to the Mauthausen concentration camp, about two hours west of Vienna, where he was ultimately murdered.
Some buildings are nameless but have art. On this column in the courtyard of a building constructed in the 1930s the phrase reads, “Working creates bread.”
And some are both nameless and without art.
That’s all my canine companion and I had time for on our walk, but more to follow, most definitely.