Infrastructure and Street Furniture

The Wien Museum is presently building up its Infrastructure Collection, with themes ranging from supplies and waste disposal in the city to public transport. Groups of items that are well stocked include watercolours and photographs of major municipal infrastructural building projects in Vienna. Examples are depictions of the “Hochquellwasserleitung” (Alpine water pipe), the regulation of the Wien River, or transportation structures (principally bridges and railway stations). The Wien Museum also owns an extensive and systematic photo-negative collection which documents the design of Vienna’s street space from the mid-1970s through to the 1990s for all Viennese districts. This represents a rich source of information for those researching street furniture, whether benches, pavement patterns or flower containers. Three-dimensional objects add to the photo-documentation: the collection contains original parts of Vienna’s city railway architecture around 1900 as well as rubbish bins. 

Project designs and models from Vienna’s urban planning and city district development have also been amassed in this sub-collection. They allow us a clear outline of infrastructural, transportation and building projects over the last few decades, whether realised or not. A large-format model of the Danube Island is of particular note, as is a 1970s model of a freeway (“Schnellstrasse B1”) that was meant to have passed through the Naschmarkt district but remained at the planning stage. 

The Wien Museum also houses several three-dimensional city portraits including the oldest preserved such model dated 1852/54. It shows the centre of the city shortly before the demolition of its fortifications and is on permanent display together with its counterpart, a model of the inner city after the establishment of the Ringstrasse around 1900.

The Wien Museum not only collects copies and artefacts of infrastructure, but also items that bear witness to social responses to it. Most of all it is criticism expressed in the public arena that allows conclusions to be drawn about contemporary perception of such projects, whether they involve the building of roads, demolitions, or the erection of waste incineration plants. The Wien Museum will continue to extend its collection with remnants and documentary evidence of protest and resistance culture (demonstrations, actions…) which arose as a reaction to infrastructural policies.