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Knowlton School Digital LibraryWorkKarl Marx-Hof [2254]

Karl Marx-Hof

  • Caption
    View of Exterior
    4/25/2008 (creation)
Related person
Karl Ehn (was created by)
1927-1930 (creation)
Karl Marx-Hof was built between 1927 and 1930 by city planner Karl Ehn, a follower of Otto Wagner. It held 1,382 apartments (with a size of 30-60 m2 each). Only 18.5% of the 1,000 metres long, 156,000 m2 large area was built up, with the rest of the area developed into play areas and gardens. Designed for a population of about 5,000. The spartan space standards and equipment of the individual dwellings were offset by the generous provision of communal facilities such as crches, kindergartens, laundry and drying rooms, and shared services such as direct heating. At over one kilometre in length (1100m, 0.68 mile) and spanning four Straenbahn (tram) stops, Karl Marx-Hof holds the distinction of being the longest single (contiguous) residential building in the world.
"The contrast with the aims and methods of American Redevelopment could hardly be more striking. The most eloquent masterpiece among the groups was surely Karl Ehn's Heiligenstadt Houses (the Karl Marx Hof) of 1927-1930 - a mighty fortress, where the major facade is a proud, dark banner of socialist solidarity. It was to be stormed alike by the troops of Dollfuss and the Red Army. It clearly infuriated many people, a little bit as the Guild House does today, but its powerful shapes, Piranesian on the exterior but much more gently articulated in the lovely garden courtyards, in fact historically culminate and bring to an enormous social climax the special Viennese tradition of Otto Wagner and his school. The scale is grander, like that of all the Viennese housing, than that of the Guild House, but the two buildings are related insofar as they both gesture like signboards to tell us what they are about. How correct the gentle irony of the American example is in this particular instance, and how stirring the Austrian's triumphant deployment: in simple political fact daring hell and surviving." --Scully, Vincent Jr. (1974). Modern Architecture: The Architecture of Democracy. New York: Braziller.

Key words: apartment, public housing, Wien, Vienna, Austria, archway, entry, symmetry.
Twentieth century (LCSH)
Modernist (AAT)
Art Deco (AAT)
brick and painted stucco
1,100 m ()