Monday, 30 November 2015

viennese sandbox: gasometer city

A few weeks ago, I wrote about some of the creative ways that municipalities have repurposed gasholders and other industrial behemoths.
Dreamily, I had mentioned the apartment blocks of Vienna as one innovative measure and was surprised to be able to see the site in person. The panoramic installation of four former storage tanks were in operation for eight decades up until 1984 when the city made the transition to natural gas for heating. Bauwerk des Dekonstruktivismus is the designation for architectural ensembles like this. The historic outer-shells were preserved—in part owing to the environmental contamination and the potential difficulties to be faced by new tenants without the support of the government and the city, once the landmark was retired extensive renovations and redesign took place, culminating in 2001.

The complex, joined by sky-bridges, comprises over eight hundred apartments, student dormitories, cinemas, a lecture hall and a shopping centre, and has subsequently fostered a unique sense of community within the four blocks, causing academics, ethnographers and urban-planners to take note with this phenomenon. I think it would be pretty keen to live in such a place, almost like living on an orbiting space station.