Programme 2021

Questions for the collection and for the 21st century at the Architekturzentrum Wien

Two people sitting in a showroom with concrete wall and many blue walls

Exhibition "Land for Us All"
© Architekturzentrum Wien, Foto: Lisa Rastl

This year, the most significant architecture collection in the country is sending a strong sign of life with the opening of the new Permanent Collection on view at the Az W. The exhibition 'Land for Us All' makes a plea for a courageous land policy, and the solo show by Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao brings her seismographic works to Austria for the first time. Meanwhile, the Az W website continues to offer even more diversity online.

“We’ve had to do a great deal of rethinking and there’s still more needed ahead in the current pandemic. Instead of shifting, central issues in architecture and urban planning have become more pressing, such as the climate crisis, affordable housing and an intelligent land policy,” according to President of the Az W, Hannes Swoboda. “So I’m all the more delighted that we’re starting 2021 off with the exhibition ‘Land for Us All’.”

Clearly and with specific examples, the exhibition ‘Land for Us All’ shows why we have to change the way we treat this valuable resource, and what this could look like. Urban sprawl has been the subject of discussion for decades, however planning permission is still being granted to more land, where shopping centres are going up on greenfield sites and chalet villages in the Alps. The exhibition ‘Land for Us All’ aims to shake things up and to show alternative approaches. The exhibition will tour the provinces over the year, where it is also sure to be the subject of controversy. ‘Land for Us All’ at the Az W has been extended until 19.07.2021.

“What can architecture do? What can architecture contribute to raising the quality of everybody’s life? Answers to these questions are not only to be found in the current exhibitions, but also in the Az W Collection. With the Permanent Collection on view, the Az W has designed a blueprint for an architecture museum of the future”, says Az W Director Angelika Fitz.

In the Permanent Collection on view at the Az W under the title ‘Hot Questions — Cold Storage’, which is scheduled to open in October, many original objects are going on public display for the first time, some of which are better known and some less so. Seven hot questions bring cold storage to life, from the impact of globalisation on our towns and villages, via the question ‘How do we want to live?’ to the contribution that architecture can make to our survival on this planet.

Opening in August, the Az W introduces the Mexican architect Tatiana Bilbao, whose projects embody environmental and social concerns as well as great poetry. “When you come from a country where many people have very little in the way of economic resources, you are used to not wasting them,” as Tatiana Bilbao says.

The exhibition ‘Critical Care. Architecture for a Broken Planet’ continues to be on tour in 2021 with venues, among others, in Dornbirn and Zurich.

In August the popular Architektur.Film.Sommer is scheduled to occupy the courtyard, this time around the topic ‘Earth Without Land — what will we build on tomorrow?’

Our programme is packed with events and educational activities throughout the whole year, whether in digital, analogue or hybrid formats.

2020 in Review

The year 2020 was also a challenging year for the Architekturzentrum Wien, and called for a new approach to much of our work. So we are all the more delighted that almost the entire planned programme went according to schedule, even if some things had to be held in virtual space,” to quote Executive Director of the Az W, Karin Lux.

As at other museums, 2020 saw a drastic reduction in the numbers of visitors to the Az W premises of around 60%. While at the same time the Az W Online Programme and the accompanying online contact rose exponentially. The exhibition ‘Balkrishna Doshi. Architecture for the People’ could sadly only be shown briefly due to the Corona measures, although it drew a large public in the few weeks that it was open. ‘Europe’s best Buildings’ proved particularly fitting in light of the shared experience of home schooling and home offices, with the winning project by Lacaton & Vassal as an appeal for a new generosity in social housing.

The Az W collection generated the exhibitions ” Cold War and Architecture. Contributions to Austria’s Democratization after 1945″ and “‘Vorarlberg — an intergenerational Dialogue”, which placed positions of the legendary Vorarlberger Baukünstler in relation to the current generation. It also guested at the vai in Dornbirn following its presentation at the Az W. The Az W exhibition ‘Critical Care. Architecture for a Broken Planet’ also went on tour to other venues, and was shown with great success in Berlin and Dresden.

At the start of September the series ‘Collection with a View’ was dedicated to the influence of Adolf Loos’ work on contemporary architecture, to mark his 150th birthday. And shortly before Christmas, the research of many years was presented to the public in the exhibition ‘Land for Us All’, although it had to close again after only three weeks due to the lockdown. ‘Land for Us All’ is now being extended in 2021.

In addition to the planned educational programme, the Architektur.Film.Sommer, symposia, lectures, guided tours and excursions, special digital formats have been created, such as the international series of discussions under the title ‘Bread & Roses’ or the series fed from the Az W Collection ‘Architekt*innen reisen’ (Architects Travel).

“My special thanks in this challenging year go, above all, to the whole of our terrific team and all of our supporters, old and new, without whom we would never have been able to carry on with our work properly”, as Executive Director of the Az W, Karin Lux, said.

“Culture is not a luxury at such a time, it is a human right, we are convinced of that. We regard the museum as a central place of societal reflection and of public life. Accordingly, we sincerely hope to be able to keep the museum open in the coming months as a concrete space of experience and as a place for personal encounters”, concludes Az W Director Angelika Fitz.