“Caring for Communities” a publication by Action Archive + Beatrice Stüde (2019)

Skärmavbild 2019-10-03 kl. 14.39.36

 In summer 2017, Angelika Fitz and Elke Krasny invited us to the public workspace of their project Care+Repair in the Nordbahnhalle, a project connected to the Vienna Biennale, organized by the Architekturzentrum Wien (Az W). The workspace brought together six European architectural practices from Austria, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Norway, and Sweden with local partners for a two-week workshop on the Nordbahngelände (the former Northern Railway Station now an urban development area). In this way, Meike Schalk and Sara Brolund de Carvalho of Action Archive from Stockholm began to collaborate with the city planner and activist Beatrice Stude from Vienna. Our work followed a joint interest in common rooms and the commons. Since 2014, Action Archive has been exploring the history and role of community spaces in the Swedish welfare state and their transformation since the end of nonprofit housing construction in Sweden. This publication collects the notes from our ethnographic field studies of summer 2017 in Vienna. It comprises excerpts from seven guided home tours and interviews with representatives of the Nordbahn district management and a non-profit housing developer. Most of the guided home tours and interviews were conducted in English, and four were conducted in German. They are reproduced here in the respective spoken languages, with only the preface and introduction being translated into English from German. The home tours and interviews were revised by us and the participants. Not all of the ten guided home tours we conducted could be documented here. However, this publication is based on the principle of expandability, and we plan to add to the material incrementally. The images taken during the home tours with mobile phones and video footage intentionally portrait no people. If not mentioned otherwise, images are owned by the authors, Action Archive + Beatrice Stude.

The Care+Repair  public workspace in the Nordbahnhalle was a precursor of the exhibition Critical Care: Architecture for a Broken Planet,  curated by Angela Fitz and Elke Krasny, which was on show at the Az W from 25 April to 9 September 2019. This publication was developed in connection with the exhibition as well as the Forum Theatre piece Theatre of Care+Repair  on 8 September at the housing project Intercultural Living with Friends, which deals with common rooms as a conflict area between bureaucracy and community action.

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