Museumsplatz 1, 7th district of Vienna
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type of use
Ina Homeier-Mendes, Christa Kamleithner and Rudolf Kohoutek
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ZOOM Children's Museum
Depot - Kunst und Diskussion
PUBLIC NETBASE t0 Media-Space!
settlers of quartier21
eSeLs thoughts concerning quartier 21o
How to Domesticate Temporary Uses
time frame: 1985 - 2000; in the beginning some weeks per year, later continuously
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The area of today's MuseumsQuartier is one of the most prominent Viennese examples of temporary uses. It is also an example of how such uses can be strategically installed, how they can give an image to a site and how difficult it is to maintain their innovative energy, if they are transferred into permanent uses.
The temporary use of the so-called MuseumsQuartier (the former Messepalast) can be roughly divided into three phases: the first covers the time between 1985-1993, during which the Wiener Festwochen organised annual events, which lasted several weeks and included theatre, dance performances and exhibitions. During the year the area was used for trade fairs. In the second phase, between 1993 and 1999/2000, some temporary uses were inaugurated, which occupied some locations continuously throughout the year - institutions such as the architecture centre Vienna, a childrens museum, art spaces such as Basis Vienna, Depot and Public Netbase developed there. At this time, the MuseumsQuartier was already projected, but the start of the construction was delayed. Temporary uses filled this gap and somehow prepared the area for the predicted use. Many of the temporary uses are now expected to be permanent. The third phase covers the current temporary uses within the umbrella organisation quartier21, which is part of the MuseumsQuartier.
The temporary uses in the years from 1985 till 2000 were as often happens in Vienna - promoted by the cultural policy, but are also based on a great deal of personnel commitment. The connection to the city administration was not a burden, on the contrary: on the free market these uses manage to exist only with great difficulties. This is the present calamity: The public authorities will to attribute subsidies has become reduced, the MuseumsQuartier Development and Operating Agency has to operate with economic benchmarks. For the users of quartier21 rental contracts for two years are foreseen; the rents for the location are low, but for young initiatives these are still too high in the past only operation costs had to be paid, the contracts were precatory loans, but certain stability was ensured by strong political will.
The self-comprehension of todays MuseumsQuartier has strongly developed around quartier21. The MuseumsQuartier understands itself as a city biotope of the arts; it was intended as a location for large, medium-sized and small cultural enterprises. Quartier21 should be a carrier structure for smaller uses. This concept is trying to regain the aura of the terminated temporary uses, after quite important agents belonging to the Viennese cultural scene moved out due to the conservative concept of quartier21.
Quartier21 became a term, which heated up minds and exhausted the potentials already at a preliminary stage. Some young architects equipped the premises with flexible looking installations. However, the space concept has proved to be relatively rigid; it was restricted to the idea of a street, which turns the users into exhibition objects. The rooms are now empty most of the time.
It can be assumed that an umbrella organisation for temporary uses is problematic insofar as it destroys temporality. Especially in the case of the MuseumQuartier, it can be assessed that the organisation set wrong priorities: the questions of technical infrastructure, spatial organisation, of a common procedure in relation to finances have been solved unsatisfactorily. But the common marketing, which is not beneficial, is operated in detail. However, the insistence on the common logo quartier21 sets the project in a strange light - for a scene, which in fact only honours variety.