quarta-feira, 10 de maio de 2017

Vienna & Budapest, Socialism and Nationalism on the Danube

"...some of the city’s leading architects and thinkers — including Loos, Josef Frank, and Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky, along with sociologist Otto Neurath — argued for fundamental change in the way the city was organized. Squatter settlements were clustering on the outskirts, and these self-organizing spaces suggested the possibility of a new kind of city in which workers would construct their own environs, low-rise and homely but also modern, with a closeness to nature and an anarchic independence that would be impossible to achieve in inner-urban tenements. This fleeting vision was quickly rejected by the Social Democratic party that was elected to power in 1919 and ran Vienna — no longer the glittering imperial seat but merely the impoverished capital of the new Republic of German-Austria — as an Austro-Marxist city-state until the mid 1930s, when it was overthrown by the rising fascists in the years before another world war. Confronted with an acute shortage of good housing, and keen to respond quickly, the new leaders initiated instead what they argued was the more pragmatic solution of creating dense communal housing on infill sites throughout the metropolis. The Social Democrats may not have been radical but they were embattled. Even today this is evident in the architecture of the apartment blocks — the Gemeindebauten, or “municipally built” housing— that were constructed from the mid 1920s to the mid ’30s. These were not simply tenements: they were monumental tenements, stretching over entire city blocks, following the local model of the Hof-Haus, or perimeter block."

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