Vienna: Haus Mit Veranden + Kabelwerk

Scheme: Haus Mit Veranden City: Vienna | Client: Heimbau + Eisenhof | Architect: Rudiger Lainer | Landscape Architect: tbc
Scheme: Kabelwerk | City: Vienna | Client: Kabelwerk Developers Ltd | Architects: Various | Landscape Architect: Heike Langenbach

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IMG_1063 (1)This short post will not do justice to the two clever, higher density schemes I saw on my final day in Vienna, but I have provided links above to further information. Haus Mit Veranden (HMV) is very dense at 230 homes per hectare, but it wears its density with verve and delight. It wasn’t a sunny day when I visited, but the building itself was the sunshine: for me, it trod exactly the right line between simplicity and expressionism. The standard-design verandas are in fact winter gardens, cantilevering out just a bit further than seems structurally possible. They attach back to relatively simple rendered volumes with a Mexican colour scheme. A surprisingly large playable garden sits at the edge; the HMV ensemble is compelling.

IMG_1079Kabelwerk is the result of an interesting-looking (but complex) community consultation process, which can be examined in more detail here. It’s a 160 homes per hectare (probably more if you discount the non-resi space) car-free zone, with many living and working typologies from terraced housing to high-rise, including a pool and an older people’s scheme. It meets its two storey neighbours with real charm, via a set of very colourful and close-packed terraced houses.  It has unexpected corners, slopes and deliberate graffiti: it’s urban, dirty, and architecturally stimulating. I really liked it.

Both of these schemes had echoes of Telefonplan, with their concrete streets and determinedly urban nature. I am reminded of Peter Barber‘s work too: close packed buildings around busy streets, made difficult to achieve in the UK due to needless planning constraints on street widths.

PS: I lived for a few months in Byker Wall in Newcastle in 1995 and came to love the collagey, the colourful and the unexpected. Perhaps that powerful experience has remained with me for 20 years!