Can the extraordinary ambition of one client liberate subsidized housing from the corset of neoliberal logic?
This project is situated in the development area of Vienna’s main train station. It accommodates a total of 450 apartments with over 3,000 m2 of shared facilities, ranging from childcare spaces to a cinema, library, climbing park, or even a large wellness center of approx. 1,000 m2. The “carpet,” a three-dimensional network of paths, connects the apartments with all these facilities. Together with the attractive landscape, which is at times integrated into the buildings, these paths form the actual “living room” of the neighbourhood. The strongly pronounced variety of apartment types addresses a wide array of user requirements. The housing options include smart apartments (three-room units with 55 m2), lofts for singles, family maisonettes, and shared housing units of up to 360 m2.
The idea of the existing master plan is “extrapolated,” that is, the tension or difference between the perimeter block and the interior space is explored. The structure frames a landscape that opens up to the south, in which three differently aligned buildings are positioned like pieces of furniture. This open assemblage of structures defines an urban sequence of spaces with a central area that leads to a dense selection of public and neighborhood-oriented facilities (theater, marketplace, library, swimming pool). Distinct openings of varying formation, size, and elevation articulate the frame of the block, offering views from a wealth of perspectives and facilitating many ways of moving through the property.