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  • Architecture in Austria in the 20th and 21st centuries

    Park Books – AZ Wien, 2016, 440 page

    Text: György Szegő


    Published more than a decade ago, the former “collection catalogue” of the Architekturzentrum (AZ) Wien gave a survey of 20th century architecture more than a decade ago. This edition of the same publication with the subtitle „in the 20th and 21st century reflects a different situation as since the year 2000 it has been enriched with almost 100 designs. However, it also expands its coverage in retrospect: it focuses also on the mid-19th century as the antecedents of the era it actually surveys. This volume, however, does not only include a summary of the previous 25 years, also referred to as the Dietmar Steiner-era, and functions as a survey and collection too: it actually views and approaches architecture as a social and cultural phenomenon and presents the position of the national architecture which played a key and respectable role in shaping the Austrian identity. Thus the AZ Wien has a function going beyond those of a museum of architecture: it is an exemplary institution continuously rephrasing the prestige of Austrian architecture for us and simultaneously a professional research centre. This revised and amended edition of the former collection catalogue features citations, introductions to the individual chapters so as to focus on them as parts of the actual discourse and present a canon of values illustrated with plenty of iconic photos and designs. The texts highlight the current tendencies and their relations to their historic precedents. It is not a novelty, of course, but as now the whole structure of the volume follows a chronological order, the publication as such strikes us with its unexpected synergic effects. The first item of the chronology is the Allgemeine Bauzeitung publication from 1836 whilst the last one is a design of a house and studio by architect Gernot Hertl completed in 2011.