‘Tis a double header this week! I just could not imagine staying indoors on a beautiful weekend day, so with my handsome wingman beside me to navigate Vienna’s 22nd district while I drove and took photographs (not at the same time, of course), off we headed across the river. Though public transportation is available into the 22nd, exploring the district with a vehicle was just a little easier.
Donaustadt is Vienna’s largest district, comprising roughly 25% of the city’s geography. With apologies to those who would prefer to live in a classic Baroque building with 3-meter ceilings and polished hardwood flooring, but live here instead, the district seems a bit soulless, its tall monolithic buildings towering above remnants of the eight former villages that comprise the Bezirk, and sprinkled with modern conveniences like big box home and garden stores, an IKEA and at least two shopping malls. If one replaced the high-rise buildings with townhouses, Donaustadt could be suburban America.
The villages are quiet and seem to wait patiently for one to explore.
At Cizekplatz, a mural to Hans Kudlich, political activist and leader of a movement to end feudal policies in Austria.
Tucked off a little street in the village Kagran, several sculptures to the famous Kagraner goose at a roundabout. Who knew?
While the villages are quiet and understated, the high-rise buildings around them scream, “Look at me! Look at me!”
Because many of the Gemeindebau in Donaustadt house hundreds of people, navigating the concrete residential jungles takes some patience. And a little help from the many artists who created the mosaics that decorate the entrances to make it easier to find one’s building of interest. We could have walked all afternoon through the complexes, admiring the glass and ceramic tile art at the doors. Though, I did have to wonder, if one has several friends here, does it become complicated to remember where they all live?
Let’s see, Franz and Maria live at the Purple Tulip; Tomas is up the street at the Lily Pond; Elisabeth is one door down from the Red Carp…
It’s not a Gemeindebau outing without graffiti. Sigh.
One complex of 9 buildings was adorned with mosaics for each of the Austrian states. We intended to capture all of the artworks, but could not find a legal spot to park the vehicle in order to do so. So sorry Vienna, Upper Austria, Carinthia, Vorarlberg, Lower Austria, and Styria. Next time.
It is not just residential buildings that were enhanced with artwork; schools and libraries enjoyed the richness, too.
The end of our outing, and possibly the ugliest building in Donaustadt, in my opinion, the United Nations Complex.