Vorträge und Posterpräsentationen (ohne Tagungsband-Eintrag):

A. Psenner:
"But What Really Makes a Building Structure be Flexible? Lessons from Vienna´s Historical Architecture";
Vortrag: EURA Conference 2012; Urban Europe - Challenges to Meet the Urban Future; European Urban Research Association, TU Wien (eingeladen); 20.09.2012 - 22.09.2012.

Kurzfassung englisch:
We are through with urban functional separation and we deeply consent that re-mixing is the future. The newly planned and developed city quarters all over Europe thoroughly represent this approach.
This mixing has to be enabled not only within the quarter or within the upper and lower levels of a house-by putting a certain number of shops underneath a traditional residential building on top-but it actually has to be enabled throughout the whole building and throughout every single building. And the mix has to be really richly varied and flexible at any time of the buildings´ lifespan. Units shall be used as apartments and after some years-if the tenants or owners change or if they stay the same and their perspectives have changed-the units shall be easily converted into offices or studios or even gymnastic halls and restaurants.
The architectural concept that offers the solution to this task does not have to be complex nor does it have to be expensive. Actually Vienna already disposes such an architectural structure that evidently does fulfil the mission: The Gründerzeit architecture easily performs the task of being use-neutral.

Fig.: Gründerzeit houses in Viennas 9th district © Angelika Psenner
One quarter of the apartments in Vienna is located in GZ buildings. These properties, built between 1848 and 1918, currently command a high value in the real estate market. But the lively demand is surprising given that the drawbacks of these historic buildings are well known:
− densely built-up areas
− high vacancy rate on the ground floors
− expensive overhead, high maintenance costs and sparse population.
It is actually the buildings´ flexibility that accounts for the high market value of GZ buildings. Right from the beginning GZ buildings were used for both living and working. And to this day they accommodate uses as diverse as apartments, hotels, offices, kindergartens, cinemas, churches, fitness centres... even boulder climbing halls are situated in GZ houses. The flexible building performance is due to the generous ceiling heights (typically measuring between 3.20 and 4 metres-on ground floors, up to 5 metres-they basically constitute the framework for the `grand and lordly´ façades). This extravagant floor height allows for diverse use, as the modular and small-scale structure of the units can be merged or separated as required, while conserving the well-balanced spatial proportions.
By quoting original literature of the time the paper offers a most astonishing answer to the question of "why" investors were motivated to place so much importance on high ceilings - in spite of the fact that GZ buildings are said to be the prototypes of profit-driven capitalistic ideas. With this a new approach to the on-going discussion about the value of flexible and use-neutral architecture shall be set.

"Gründerzeit-Historic City, Ceiling Heights, Use-neutral Architecture, Socio-Urban Diversity

Erstellt aus der Publikationsdatenbank der Technischen Universität Wien.