Alessandro Porotto

PhD ・ Academic Researcher ・ Architect

NEW CHAPTER BOOK: Vienna's Höfe: How Housing Builds the Collective

I am delighted to announce that my chapter book «Vienna's Höfe» is published by Routledge. The book Architecture and Collective Life edited by Penny Lewis, Lorens Holm and Sandra Costa Santos gather a selection of papers presented at the AHRA 2019 Conference held in Dundee, UK. I am particularly excited that my contribution finds a place alongside authors such as Joan Ockman, Jodi Dean and Martino Tattara.

The housing projects carried out in Vienna during the Interwar period, usually grouped under the name ‘Red Vienna,’ were executed in light of a precise architectural model: the Hof, loosely translated as ‘superblock’ or ‘large courtyard block.’ This model was at the core of planning policies and new dwelling initiatives, a reaction to both the accelerated metropolitan growth and an acute housing shortage. To the Viennese, housing started to become a public utility and part of a wider and multifaceted social view, being thus considered a fundamental element to the construction of the city. The housing policy guidelines stressed the need for ornamental gardens, for the allowance of sufficient area for all to receive as much sunlight as possible, for the provision of play areas for children, rest areas for adults, room for planting and even for ice rinks. Gardens separate the pedestrian path from the leisure areas, usually placed in the middle of the courtyard.