Exhibition opening

Cold War and Architecture

Contributions to Austria’s Democratization after 1945

Wed 16.10.2019, 19:00-22:00

Cover, La zone d'occupation française en Autriche, Innsbruck 1947

For the first time in an exhibition, the post-war building activities in Austria and those involved are contextualized in the discourse of the Cold War. As will be seen, the years of occupation impacted decisively on the architectural policy agenda after 1945.

In contrast to Berlin, Vienna is still not generally viewed as an arena of politicised architecture debate during the Cold War era. Following liberation by the Allies, each of the four occupying powers established a varied cultural programme of its own. Britain, France, the United States and the Soviet Union used architecture exhibitions as a platform for cultural, ideological, economic, and technological exchange. The impact this had on Austrian architecture scene is little known or completely forgotten.

Coloured drawing of a building with the shape of a Greek temple with national flags
Max Fellerer, Eugen Wörle, rebuilding of the Austrian Parliament Building, 1945–1956 (study, design variation, Jorg Jarosch)
© Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection
Cover, La zone d'occupation française en Autriche, Innsbruck 1947
Carl Auböck, Roland Rainer, Sample houses Veitingergasse, Vienna, AT
© photograph: USIS, Carl Auböck Archiv, Wien
Ferdinand Kitt, Paula-Preradović-Haus, Alpbach
© Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection
Ernst Plojhar, Draft for the 14th Party Congress of the KPÖ in the Musikverein, Vienna, AT, 1948
© Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection
Cover, Plan von Stevenage, Der Aufbau, Nr. 1/2, 1947
Cover, „Der Sozialismus ist verwirklicht.“ Die Brücke, November 1951
Coloured drawing of a multi-storey house
Oswald Haerdtl, design for Amerika Haus, 1952
© Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection
Black and white photo of two elderly men in a suit in front of an architectural model
Erich Boltenstern in front of the Lever Building in the exhibition 'Moderne Kunst aus USA', Secession, 1956
© Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection

The exhibition is a plea for a revision of the narrative dominated by national historiography. The ideological struggle after the Second World War was all-embracing, and continued to feed a cultural arms race. The global dimension of the East-West conflict and its impact are at the centre of a reappraisal of the Austrian architecture debate after 1945.

One of the main focuses is on the inclusion of previously overlooked primary and secondary archival resources which together provide a picture of post-war modernism.


Curator: Monika Platzer

Design: Michael Hieslmair & Michael Zinganel, Tracing Spaces

Graphic design: Christoph Schörkhuber, Manuela Neuner, seite zwei


The exhibition is accompanied by a book in English of the same title, “Cold War and Architecture. The Competing Forces that Reshaped Austria after 1945”, published by Park Books.