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Stadt des Kindes: On A Failed Utopia

SammlungsLab #2

Tue 17.04.2018 – Mon 28.05.2018
Abbruch eines Gebäudes

Anton Schweighofer, Stadt des Kindes, 1140 Vienna, 1969–1974, Demolition: 2008
Image: Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection, photo: Pez Hejduk

In the wake of the 1968 movement there was a shift in Viennese social policy. In the building sector this climate of change manifested itself in the opening of the Stadt des Kindes in 1974.

The complex by architect Anton Schweiger embodies the new guiding concepts of the welfare state: transparency and community. The shift away from the care concept towards a partnership-based approach was clearly illustrated in the housing of the children in family-like groups. Public access to the recreational facilities, like indoor swimming pool, gym, theatre and ceramics workshop, was representative of the social integration of the occupants in their local setting. The Stadt des Kindes became a model project for politicians. As a new model for the accommodation of “vulnerable” children and youths, the project remained an exception and did not realise its own goals. In 2002 it was closed, and largely demolished despite widespread protest. Two family homes, the swimming pool and the gymnasium were conserved and renovated. Over 250 apartments were completed on the grounds with its generous outdoor spaces between 2011 and 2013 (architects: Walter Stelzhammer, Peter Weber). The second Sammlungslab, dedicated to the Stadt des Kindes, brings impressive objects from the Az W Collection together with the memories of institutional critique from former residents, and raises the issue of the ambivalent relationship between architecture and social practice in many ways.

Curator: Monika Platzer

Exhibition design: Robert Rüf


An empty indoor swimming pool
Anton Schweighofer, Stadt des Kindes, 1140 Wien, 1969–1974
Image: Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection, photograph: Pez Hejduk
Longitudinal section of the road with the view of a house
Anton Schweighofer, Stadt des Kindes, 1140 Wien, 1969–1974, longitudinal section of the road, youth house view, 1970
Image: Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection
Drawing with people in a room that serves as a clubroom, disco and library
Anton Schweighofer, Stadt des Kindes, 1140 Wien, 1969–1974, clubroom, disco, library
Image: Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection