The Architekturzentrum Wien (Az W) presents a "significant blind spot in the cultural and architectural history of Austria" in its new exhibition, which director Angelika Fitz presented at the press conference Wednesday. In "Cold War and Architecture", curator Monika Platzer explained "to what extent the victorious powers have influenced the economy and cultural politics".
Already in the entrance area of the exhibition, a Viennese model gives an overview of the division of the city between 1945 and 1955. The color scheme – red for Russia, yellow for the United States, Blue for France and Green for Great Britain – does not only refer to the individual "Zones" of the show, but can also be found on the cover of the exhibition catalog, which you can choose according to of your preferences in the favorite color.
"What should the world look like after 1945?" The different responses of the victorious powers to this question were also reflected in the respective ideas of architecture and urbanism. While the British pursued a "third way" of the democratic welfare state between Western turbo-capitalism and Russian communism and set urban design to a "structured and relaxed city", the plans presented in the show, to Like Americans, translate here the "American way of life" wanted to structurally establish. At Wien-Hietzing, Carl Auböck and Roland Rainer had planned a model estate that propagated the right to a house as opposed to the Vienna lease.
Russia, like other occupying powers, has established information centers in which subjects such as the reconstruction of the USSR and its technical achievements should be transmitted to the Austrian people. While the Austro-Soviet society was in Vienna's Favoriten, a cinema was operated in the Volksbildungshaus Margareten. In Wieden there was a school for children of soldiers of the Soviet occupation. France, for its part, emphasized the similarities between the French and Austrian cultural nations, but official Vienna criticized the planning ideas of Le Corbusier, invited to Vienna in 1948, criticized in the exhibition.
Together, the occupying powers have a strong presence in the exhibition and fair sector: London's urban development plans were reconstructed as part of an exhibition presented at MAK – Museum of Applied Arts in the United States with the exhibitions "Architecture of the United States since 1947" and "Modern Art of the United States". present in Vienna. At the Vienna Autumn Fair in 1957, a direct confrontation occurred when the United States erected their pavilion in the immediate vicinity of the "Pavilion of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics", which had already been built in 1952.
The exhibition at Az W is complemented by a transnational synopsis focused on CIAM-Austria (International Congresses of Modern Architecture) and International Academic Weeks (Alpbach Forum today). . Chronicles of magazines such as "The Structure" or "The Bridge" provide information on speeches of the time in the field of architecture and urban planning. Under the title "Cold Transfer", a symposium will be held on 24 and 25 January 2020 during which the evolution of construction practices and their socio-political framework conditions in Austria, Switzerland and Germany will be examined.