Vienna. The Pearl of the Reich - Planning for Hitler
Венский архитектурный центр впервые продемонстрирует планы Гитлера по перестройке Вены в «жемчужину Рейха». Город должен был прийти в соответствие с национал-социалистической идеологией. В рамках масштабной экспозиции будут представлены проекты переустройства австрийской столицы, что позволит проанализировать возможности воплощения национал-социалистических идей в архитектуре.
For the first time ever the broad spectrum of building projects in Vienna during the Nazi era is being shown in a comprehensive exhibition at the Architekturzentrum Wien. The Viennese examples of the building and planning activity of the Third Reich illustrate the wide-ranging contexts and interdependencies of Nazi objectives — architecture was instrumentalised to serve the aggressive expansion policies of the Nazi regime, and urban and spatial planning became powerful tools in the implementation of Nazi population policy. In the exhibition the paradoxical myth that Vienna only played a minor role in the planning activity of the Third Reich is examined. With the creation of Greater Vienna the metropolis on the Danube became the second largest city in the Reich; the infrastructure, industrial and development concepts for Vienna bear witness to the city’s key function as a hub and a transit area from and to Southeast Europe.
Whereas in the fields of history and the social sciences comparatively much has been researched and published about the Nazis in Austria over the past 70 years, this has not been the case so far in the field of the History of Architecture. The transfer to the Az W in 2011 of the Klaus Steiner archives, which contain a wealth of original material (plans, photos, written documents, files etc.), laid the foundation for research into the area, enabling an intense engagement with this theme possible. Following the thorough examination of the material carried out in the course of the preparations for this exhibition, much that had previously been obscured could be used to contribute to the further processing of this piece of history. The activity of many architects and the continuity of their work starting in the interwar period, extending through the time of Third Reich and the post-war era, up to the present day is particularly informative and revealing. Architecture, urban and spatial planning were appropriated as instruments of power for new designs and the regime’s monumental public image, and the protagonists became the “allies” of a totalitarian system. During the Nazi era the profession of architect experienced an unexpected heyday, which continued to have an impact in the areas of planning and building long after the end of the war. Many architects as well as civil servants in the urban planning department survived the de-Nazification process “in good standing” and continued in their jobs after the end of the war.
Vienna was to have played a special role in the Third Reich and the city was to become the capital of a Gau (Nazi province). Hitler, who had an ambivalent relationship to Vienna throughout his life, wanted to give the city a leading position in the area of the arts — Vienna as an art, theatre and music capital and the mediator of “German” culture between east and west. However, Vienna was not to be just an art metropolis but also a hub for and pivotal to the southeast. Hitler’s admiration for the Ringstrasse and its imperial buildings is legible in the plans for the redesign of Heldenplatz and Rathausplatz, which were to be remodelled as defined, paved parade grounds to serve as a stage for self-presentation. But most of these monumental plans, including the grand axis running at right angles to the Danube and the redesign of the 2nd and 20th districts that it would have involved, were never carried out. After the end of the war much material disappeared into the drawers of those who had produced it and was, to some extent, forgotten.