Vorträge und Posterpräsentationen (mit Tagungsband-Eintrag):

A. Psenner:
"Mixed Building use Promotes Urbanity: Insights from Historical Use-neutral Architecture";
Vortrag: REAL CORP 2012, RE-MIXING THE CITY - Toward Sustainability and Resilience?, Schwechat (eingeladen); 14.05.2012 - 16.05.2012; in: "RE-MIXING THE CITY - Toward Sustainability and Resilience?", M. Schrenk, V. Popovich, P. Zeile, P. Elisei (Hrg.); (2012), 11 S.

Kurzfassung englisch:
Starting from the idea that we no longer want to go on with the separation of housing, working and leisure within the city and its quarters-which had been codified by the Charta of Athens and in succession by many legal advices, like the development, land use and master plans of the different cities; but which in the end leaded to dormitory suburbs, nightly depopulated business district and almost deserted urban open spaces, that redundantly have to be dumped to the overwhelming traffic (the other outcome of urban functional separation)-we deeply consent that remixing is the adequate answer. The newly planned and developed city quarters all over Europe-like HafenCity Hamburg, Seestadt Aspern-represent this new approach.
This remixing 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. 1: Gründerzeit houses in Viennas 9th district © Angelika Psenner
One quarter of the apartments in Vienna are located in GZ buildings. These properties, built between 1848 and 1918, currently command a high value in the real estate market, reflecting a lively demand for both the buildings and the flats. This fact is surprising given that the drawbacks of these historic buildings are well known. That would be:
- Densely built-up areas: The GZ districts lack a sufficient balance of accessible outdoor recreation areas.
- High vacancy rate on the ground floors.
- Expensive overhead, high maintenance costs, and sparse population.
Therefore, what is it that accounts for the high market value of GZ buildings? First of all the generous ceiling heights have to be mentioned. 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. The extravagant floor height also allows for diverse use: the modular and small-scale structure of the units can be merged or separated as required, while conserving the well-balanced spatial proportions.
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.
What motivated investors 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? How have the high ceilings paid their way? What did their profit-value consist in?
By quoting original literature of the time the paper offers a most astonishing answer to this question and with this a new approach to the ongoing discussion about the value of use-neutral architecture.

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

Elektronische Version der Publikation:

Erstellt aus der Publikationsdatenbank der Technischen Universität Wien.