Small-Group Architectural Tour of Red Vienna

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Lluís Enric Mayans

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Discover the history of Vienne la rouge during a half-day walk with a historian guide and discover two sets of Art Deco style social housing built in the 1920s and 1930s to meet housing needs social in the city after the bombardment of the Second World War. Enjoy a guided walking tour of Vienna's 2 biggest projects, Karl Marx-Hof and Reumannhof.

The end of World War I saw the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the end of Habsburg rule that lasted nearly 600 years. In 1919, the Socialists obtained an absolute majority in the city government, a position of power they retained until 1934. This 15-year period is known as Red Vienna. To pull Vienna out of the ruins of defeat and bring it into a new era, the government took numerous legislative initiatives, before tackling civil rights and social housing. 

During this 3-hour guided walk, you will discover the fascinating and gigantic sets of social housing in the style Art Deco which were built in the 1920s and 1930s in the suburbs of the city. A total of 60 new apartments were built between 000 and 1925. The exploration is fascinating, as you learn about these sets designed to be perfect little living worlds, with communal amenities such as public baths, public squares and municipal green spaces. These complexes were also designed to include shops, libraries, theaters, kindergartens, clinics, laundromats and political clubs.

Visit 2 such social housing units on this tour. The most famous and largest is Karl Marx-Hof, nicknamed the Ringstrasse of the proletariat. It was built by urban planner Karl Ehn, a follower of Otto Wagner, the famous architect of the city's art nouveau movement. A few metro stops away is the second complex of the visit, the Reumannhof

With your historian guide you will learn about the political vision behind the civic functions incorporated into these grand ensembles, as well as the aesthetic philosophies and ideals that were introduced. The primary goal was to create humble yet charming structures set in an Art Deco mainstream that would provide middle-class and working-class Viennese with a new sense of community and social progression.

Learn about the inept propaganda of socialist politicians and the naïve failings of their attempts to achieve a utopian solution that was supposed to address the massive post-war social problems that arose in the city. For finished, the insurmountable economic devastation accompanied by both the defeat of Vienna's socialist experiment and the recapture of Austria in 1938 by the Nazis.

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