Oswaldgasse 33-35, 12th district

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type of use
Ina Homeier-Mendes, Christa Kamleithner und Rudolf Kohoutek

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submitted by
Ina Homeier-Mendes
submitted on

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web links
Kabelwerk - Stadt 2000

Cable and Wire Factory

An Economy of Transgression

time frame: open

initiators: IG Kabelwerk, association for art and communication – cultural and communicative contribution to the location marketing of the residential buildings Cable Factory in Vienna Meidling” and others

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In 1997 the Cable and Wire Factory in the 12th district of Vienna was closed down. Now a new quarter is developing on its area of 6.3 ha, for which a call for ideas named “City 2000” was organised. A cooperative planning process was chosen where temporary uses should enable sustainable planning and development related to the actual needs. The project is – as a pilot project – quite important for the Urban Planning Department. The association “IG Kabelwerk” was founded to organise and coordinate the individual temporary uses.
The decision for temporary uses, free of charge, was accomplished as it became clear, that the size and condition of the halls would hardly permit “normal” tenancy. However, there were some obstacles. Firstly the owners had to be convinced: They feared that the once established temporary users could make permanent demands and thus cause additional costs. Not only the project developers, but also the District Council and the residential population were sceptical. However, in spring 1999 a precatory loan was signed between the association of the owners and “IG Kabelwerk”.
From the beginning, the association “IG Kabelwerk” chose a selection process which had an integrative approach and tried to achieve a balanced mix of popular events, high and sub culture and smaller private initiatives. The temporary uses included long-term activities like graffiti, theatre and pottery groups, which all tried to involve local inhabitants. Weddings of Turkish families lasting three days and the final event of the TV reality show “Taxi Orange” were celebrated there. With Peter Stein’s “Faust”, a theatre performance of the highest level took place. For commercial events, the usual rent has to be paid, but on the other hand, the association supports financially private initiatives of the cultural non-profit area. The target is to address different social groups, both from the surrounding environment and the entire Viennese cultural sector.
The concept was successful and the cable factory is now well-known in Vienna. The inhabitants from the neighbourhood and the external artists partly managed to come closer and find a common understanding. The mix of the various cultural sectors on one location and the flair of its temporary and unique character have attracted a colourful audience and led to numerous important productions.
At the moment a transformation of the temporary cultural uses into the final programme of the project is being negotiated. Almost all the old buildings have been demolished now, and thus the possibilities for cultural use are rather limited. The issue of whether an open house for culture will be part of this new quarter is still under discussion, as the temporary uses were mainly financed by one-time public subsidies. An institutionalisation based on regular rental contracts could lead to a commercial turn and thus to a limitation of the variety of possible uses. The initial concerns of the owners and the project developers with regard to an “alternative cultural use” have proved to be groundless. The cultural temporary activities contributed to the acceptance of the new quarter by the inhabitants and to dialogue with the district administration.
The issue remains open - in the case of the future utilisation of temporary uses for urban development - to what extent the synergies between project operators, district, planning and cultural users could have been clearer. It is doubtful whether it is feasible to think more efficiently with regard to temporary uses. Probably the economics of temporary uses is characterised by a spontaneous and unplanned use of resources, which thus produce additional value in a complex way, which cannot be accounted linearly. The excessive, costly dealing with resources - for instance at the Faust production - stands for an economics of transgression, of which results are not available through classical economic accountings.

cable and wire factory

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