Museum of Golden Trace, Vienna
In the 18th century, the Karlsplatz used to be connected to the historical city of Vienna via the River Wien, which goes around the city outside the city wall and flows into the famous River Danube. The river was a significant structure of the city, functioned as a flood control device and involved in daily people’s lives. As the city center expanded, traffic along the Ringstrasse increased significantly. And the hygiene of the river became an issue due to the unwell hygiene management at the time, leading to a need to cover up a session of the river with an additional driveway on top. Since then the river was submerged, quietly turned into a concrete culvert. The once permanence of Vienna was covered.
From the eye of the Karlsplatz, some of its connections with the city center were then lost. The wish to form a pleasant and vibrant plaza was also yet to be fulfilled. The plaza is currently too big and open. It is looking for a jolly center which requires an effective definition at the edge. We think the edge needs to be a mass with enough ‘presence’, as to enclose a plaza with appropriate distance between building edges.
Therefore we propose to uncover the traces of the river Wien which was once flowing along the edge of the Karlsplatz. A building with the river’s outline is proposed. The outline is as well brought all the way into the Haerdtl building. The new and old museum is thus gently linked up by the old mighty river. We deploy Otto Wagner’s landscape plan as a base, for its attention to the planning symmetry and axis. The whole strip of the river trace is landscaped in a consistent manner, filled with benches, bushes and water feature. Cultural follies are then added to provide events to space, may it be art pavilions sculptures, or anchor points for activities to happen. Ground floors of the Wien museum extension and Winterthur building are filled with cafes with outdoor seatings, so visitors to the place can enjoy the plaza every day.
Collaborators: Howard Chung, Irene Cheng