Vienna Media News 08/2019 Vienna, the stage is yours: Monumental social housing

A single apartment building with four addresses? Only one of Vienna’s flagship municipal housing projects fits the bill: the Karl-Marx-Hof in the nineteenth district. This prestigious giant building has come to embody the style and substance of the “red” social housing construction boom of 1919 to 1934. And 2019 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the city’s Red Vienna period.

The longest contiguous apartment building in the world, it is around 1,100 meters in length and its original 1,382 units provided housing for 5,000 residents. Its trademark architectural features are defined by the striking archways and lofty towers crowned by four ceramic figures.

The building’s architect Karl Ehn, a former pupil of Otto Wagner, faced a major challenge from the outset. His brief was to get the most out of the narrow plot without compromising the future residents’ quality of life. Ehn’s solution to the problem was a design in which just 18% of the 150,000m² piece of land was built on. The remainder was accounted for by green spaces and courtyards. This city within a city had various communal amenities. In addition to laundry facilities, bathhouses and its own kindergarten, it had doctor’s offices, coffeehouses and even its own post office. The Karl-Marx-Hof has always been a shining example for other large-scale construction projects.

Its own museum has been flying the flag for social housing since its inauguration in 2010. At the Waschsalon, the history of the residential development is told through exhibitions and tours, and visitors can also learn about other related aspects of contemporary life including work in the construction industry, education, cultural life and festivals and celebrations. The permanent exhibition also references present-day developments, making the former washhouse more than just a museum.

These and other special Viennese encounters can be found online at The purpose-built website contains numerous tips and suggestions for visitors looking to engage with the city and its inhabitants on a different level.


Vienna Tourist Board
Helena Hartlauer
Media Relations UK, USA, Canada, Australia
Tel. (+ 43 1) 211 14-364

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