The Vienna Model: Housing for the 21st Century


D center Baltimore, 16 W North Ave

The Windup Space, 12 W North Ave
Featuring Wolfgang Forster, Head of Vienna Housing Research and International Relations + more TBA

D center Baltimore's latest exhibition presents a survey of public housing design in the Austrian capital of Vienna. The exhibition will feature 36 case studies in Viennese public housing, accompanied by a responsive series of images of artworks curated by the Austrian collaborative duo Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber.

The City of Vienna has achieved extraordinary milestones with regard to public housing: today, about 60% of the Viennese population lives in municipally built, owned, or managed housing, and the city is clearly in control of the housing market. This stands in stark contrast to the United States, where, in most cases, the private market is the provider of housing and is often even relied upon to rehabilitate existing neighborhoods and create new communities. Vienna’s housing model contributes to a tangible positive impact; for the past four consecutive years, Vienna topped the Mercer “Quality of Living” survey as the city boasting the world’s highest quality of life in the world and was ranked second in The Economist’s 2012 “World’s Most Livable City” and number eight in Monocle’s 2012 “World’s Most Livable Cities.”

This successful model dates back to the days of “Red Vienna,” in the early 20th century, when the socialist government took an active interest in designing for the masses. That interest has since evolved into a housing-policy that has produced works by a host of prolific architects and studios over the years, such as those of Josef Hoffmann, Adolf Loos, Richard Neutra, and Margarete Schütte Lihotzky.

Wolfgang Forster