Think Public Space HONOURABLE MENTION #3
Work title: 2 public spaces in Vienna
The analysis of the history and current condition of public space in Vienna, is a fine indicator of the current condition of urban design today. As read in the brief we are witnessing that private interests transform into public ones while the public institution lose their public character in a sociological sense as they get transformed into private undertakings. In the case of the Museeumsquartier in Vienna the case is even more special. During the making the city of Vienna privatized itself, so to speak, in creating the MQ-Holding. What is so extraordinary in this case is that the general public would not had recognized it, if not in cause of the Euro 2008 that the MQ-Holding was forced to exercised there domiciliary right and forbid people to bring their own beer. It is even more public then Heldenplatz, the most political and public space that Vienna has to offer. The categories of private and public are crumbling away in our hands as Manuel Sola Morales used to say.
It appears that there is too much emphasis on the opposition of those to spheres, while we as architects never design and focus on one person, the individual , nor exclusively on one group the collective as the opposition, or just not about anyone else or the “outside world”. It is always a question about the individual and the collective and there interrelation. In architecture the form of this impossible condition It differs in the end in a series of spatial qualities in relation to accessibility, responsibility and the relation between private properties and the supervision of spatial conditions.
However, when obstacles occur it is in our responsibility and we as architetcs are to blame if we do not reformulate the approach accordingly.
“…what people are always so diligently subtracting from vir¬gin-open-exterior space with the help of material and construction, all too often closes in the process. Instead of being “interiorized”, it is rendered empty, and emptiness (the perforated solid) is so very malicious. It is pre¬cisely because constructing in exterior space inevitably entails demarca¬tion, enclosure, separation, and size reduction that I now wish to place special emphasis on the quality which does not survive all this limiting acivity without conscious effort: openness. This quality, therefore, demands all the more attention. It is in the fact the very thing architects in particular are required to maintain: to reconstitute by means of construction, thus keeping open what (without their special care and competence) would otherwise close.” – Aldo van Eyck
The Point of departure in the design is to take the unfinished work of Gottfried Semper and turn it 90°. This intervebtion brings us somehow back to the condition of Vienna around 1845 where the place in front of the emperor castle was used as parade ground in juxtaposition of the private Burggarden of the emperor Franz Joseph I and the public Volksgarden. A promising approach.