The architecture talk show opens the debate between a beloved protected zone and the right to the present.
One frequently hears the question “Why don’t architects build like they did in the Gründerzeit anymore?” This is often followed by “and why do you live in a Gründerzeit apartment, and not in one you planned?” But what do we mean when we talk about Gründerzeit? Is the concern the flexibility of the floor plans, the exterior design as an urban building block, or a minimum of façade ornamentation? Or, is it an expression of the Viennese yearning for the familiar and mistrust of all things new? Must the entire Gründerzeit be placed under a glass bell as a cultural artefact, or should only what is really good be conserved? It is often forgotten that many Gründerzeit buildings were produced in series as objects of speculation. In current street jargon applied to the 19th century, they would probably be condemned as “stone monsters” that are destroying the calm of Biedermeier Vienna. Often over-filled and with no bathroom in the apartments, for decades they were by no means the sought-after residences they are today. So: How much Gründerzeit building does the soul of Vienna need, and how much new architecture can it accommodate.
Arik Brauer, artist, Vienna
Helga Fassbinder, political scientist/urban planner, Amsterdam/Vienna
Andreas Nierhaus, art historian, Wien Museum Curator
Anna Popelka, architect, ppag Architects, Vienna
Moderated by Maik Novotny, architecture journalist