Bright Simplicity

architects ARTEC Architekten
projects Housing, Alxingergegasse, Vienna, Austria; Housing, Scheffelstrasse, Bregenz, Austria
written by Vera Grimmer


There is hardly a city in Europe to be compared to Vienna when it comes to the tradition of high quality social housing. In not more than 15 years – from the end of the First World War to the civil war in February 1934 –  the Social Democrat  local government built an unbelievable number of housing estates, complete with infrastructure, which should have contributed, more than anywhere else, to the overall project of establishing a new quality of life for the working class. There was a firm belief that architecture could change the world, as stated in Le Corbusier’s slogan: “Architecture or revolution”. The authorities of Vienna continued the programme of social housing after the Second World War, but, understandably, within a considerably lesser programmatic and construction swing than in the heroic times of Red Vienna.