Going against the current trend for increasing economic constraints on their collections, the new Permanent Exhibition of the Az W sets standards in the production and sharing of knowledge.
The Architekturzentrum Wien is the only museum in Austria devoted exclusively to architecture. As the Az W Collection has expanded over the last 17 years and consists of over 85 architects’ estates as well as extensive collections of individual projects, a large number of objects are being shown for the first time in the new Permanent Exhibition: ‘Hot Questions — Cold Storage’. Selected models, drawings, furniture, fabrics, documents and films develop new threads in seven thematic episodes. Each episode is preceded by one of today’s burning issues, a Hot Question that brings Cold Storage to life.
The nation’s building activity with all of its cultural, social, economic and technical ramifications is made strikingly visible. The contents covered range from the special significance of Red Vienna to architectural pedagogical experiments in the wake of the 1968 movement or architectural revolts in Vorarlberg, to historical and current examples of environmental rethinking. The exhibition also engages with the ideological instrumentalisation of architecture and spatial planning and the active collaboration of architects in authoritarian systems, as well as their resistance. At the same time, the exhibition challenges deficits in the canon of Austrian architectural history, for instance from a perspective of gender equality. New players are featured, light is shed on previously little known sources and the key focus is on multiple perspectives instead of on a national historical narrative. This diversity is also reflected in the exhibition design. The sheer variety of the exponents and their display makes a visit to the exhibition a sensual and an atmospheric experience.