What is the value of voids in the urban fabric? Vienna is full of unused gaps that are all too quickly ignored. And yet thinking about public spaces, and how we design and responsibly use them, is fundamental for the functioning of a society – especially in a restricted, urban context. The talk VACANT PLOTS, WASTELAND, VOIDS invited experts to the Festival Headquarters during VIENNA DESIGN WEEK to discuss these (ostensible) voids. Madlyn Miessgang (architect), Michael Hieslmair (architect), and Angelika Fitz (Director of the Architekturzentrum Wien) discussed their practical experiences of the subject under the moderation of Mark Neuner (architect). The discussion addressed such issues as temporary (artistic) uses, the social impact of demolishing buildings, occupations, short-term cultural interventions and utopias, and the demands upon urban voids.
Long before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic VIENNA DESIGN WEEK and Erste Bank had issued an open call for the submission of projects, ideas, and concepts that demonstrate new approaches to the long-term and intermediate use of such wasteland. These intermediate uses emerge not only as a result of precarious compulsion and necessity, but also often through the powerful engagement of many people. Hence, such spaces often have a public character. And the crisis has made the issue more relevant than ever! The talk was followed by the presentation of the Stadtarbeit projects for 2020 (Institute for Valuation and ARCHE) and of the Erste Bank ExtraVALUE Design Awards 2020.