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hintergrund 11


About 24 years ago, the idea was born to dedicate the former imperial court stables, which in the meantime had been used by the Vienna Trade Fair, to a cultural use. After tough wrangling and accompanied by arduous campaigns, the now new Museumsquartier was opened in 2001 according to the plans of the architects Ortner & Ortner. The new Vienna Museum Quarter is neither the Louvre in Paris nor the Museum Island in Berlin; it is a completely new model of a cultural quarter on this scale.



Independent institutions for fine arts, architecture, dance, theater, children, discussion, libraries, archives, media art, artists’ studios, art magazines settle in new and old buildings in one district, without being administered by a general management. The Architekturzentrum Wien, with its children’s museum ZOOM and the Wiener Festwochen, is one of the surviving ‘first users’ of the new purpose of the Museumsquartier. The permanent uncertainty and construction site that has lasted since 1993 will soon come to an end. But also eight years of creative improvisation, of permanent living struggle.

The sometimes romantic feeling of being in a kind of periphery in the middle of the city will soon be gone. No more percussion drills will punctuate meetings, no more avalanches of dust will trickle when you rummage through documents, and the daily worries about heat, water and electricity will soon be over. On the other hand, the truck convoys that circle through the narrow entrance gates will continue to permanently impair the function of the neighborhood. And there will be many buses and bicycles for which there will be no parking spaces.

As first-time users who are not planned for the time being, we have experienced, suffered and written down everything. The result is the ultimate chronicle of the development of the Museumsquartier Wien. One should remember the many people involved, the politicians, the role of the media, the suffering of the architects. Because otherwise, at the time of the glorious opening, the great oblivion takes hold. And as in a normal urban quarter, new additional buildings will soon be erected, which, spurred on by the new momentum, will then set adequate urban planning signs.