Terra Nova. 70 years of the Siemensstraße Settlement in Floridsdorf

An Exhibition on Social Housing and Urban Development in Vienna after 1945

The Siemensstraße settlement (1950–54) in Floridsdorf is one of the outstanding examples of social housing and urban development in post-war Vienna. It was highly respected internationally and is now a designated cultural heritage site. At the time of its construction, the settlement was the largest municipal housing complex in Vienna, with over 1700 apartments.

After the Second World War, the housing shortage in Vienna was dramatic. Over 86,000 apartments were destroyed or unusable. As an important industrial location, Floridsdorf was particularly affected. To quickly cover the most urgent housing needs, the city initiated a so-called rapid construction project in addition to the regular residential construction program. By 1954, about 4,000 additional apartments had been built.

Many of the more than 1,700 apartments were designed as so-called duplex apartments, small apartments (approx. 30m²), which could later be combined without great technical effort. In keeping with the demands of social urban planning, which aimed to separate work, living and recreation, the settlement was built in the immediate vicinity of the large Floridsdorf industrial plants, featuring generous open and green spaces. 

In addition, Siemensstrasse offered the residents a rich infrastructure, such as a community center, kindergarten, children's outdoor pool, bathhouse, and a series of stores.
The architect Franz Schuster (1892–1972) planned the housing project according to the "New Neighborhood" concept originating in the Anglo-American realm. This was intended to enable residents to live private lives while taking different needs into account. Separate building and apartment types were designed for families, single people, war invalids and the elderly, such as the "Heimstätte für alte Menschen". 

Franz Schuster had already built in Red Vienna (with Franz Schacherl, he designed the settlement "Am Wasserturm", X., 1923–1924; with, among others, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky and Adolf Loos the "Otto Haas-Hof" in the XX. ,1924–1926) as well as the Montessori Kindergarten on Rudolfsplatz (I., 1929–31). In 1926, he moved to Frankfurt, where he worked as an associate of Ernst May in one of the centers of architectural modernism in Europe. In 1937, he was appointed to the School of Applied Arts in Vienna as the successor to Josef Hoffmann. In 1938, he served the National Socialists’ planning agenda and participated, among other things, in the planning of the demolition of Leopoldstadt. Alas, this did not hinder his career after 1945. He retained his position as professor and played a decisive role in the reconstruction of Vienna. In addition to the Per Albin Hansson settlement (X., 1947–51, together with Eugen Wörle and Stefan Simony, among others) and the special kindergarten "Schweizer Spende" (XV.), the Siemensstrasse settlement was one of his major works during this period.

The exhibition "Terra Nova - 70 Years of Siemensstrasse Settlement" explores the strengths of social urban planning and the concept of the New Neighborhood. It was conceived in close cooperation with contemporary witnesses and tells about the living culture and everyday life of the 1950s. It can be seen in a duplex apartment at Scottgasse 5.

A cooperation of Wien Museum, Wohnpartner Team 21 and the Referat Wohnbauforschung und internationale Beziehungen

Curatorial team:
Wolfgang Fichna, Susanne Reppé, Werner Michael Schwarz, Georg Vasold, Susanne Winkler

Lisa Ifsits, Alex Kubik

from October 9, 2020
1210 Vienna, Scottgasse 5, staircase 107/1

Visits to the exhibition only by appointment with Wohnpartner under +43 (0)1 24503 21083 (Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.) or lokal21(at)wohnservice-wien.at.
Free admission!

Public Transport
U1 Stop Kagraner Platz, Bus 31A to Skraupstraße
S1, S2 Stop Siemensstraße, Bus 30A to Skraupstraße