Az W at the Semper Depot
Committee Az W im Semper Depot
WHY A COMMITTEE Az W IM SEMPER-DEPOT?
We are appealing to committed private individuals and companies interested in architecture for help in realising our ambitious proposal to found an Austrian architecture museum. The Az W im Semper-Depot committee is being founded to the same ends. The aim is to raise support prepared to actively contribute to increasing positive awareness of the significance of an Austrian architecture museum in supporters' own professional and social spheres. They should lobby in different places on behalf of the matter at hand, and engage in the development of an Austrian architecture museum of international significance at the Semper Depot in Vienna. We are offering an opportunity to actively participate in the making of the Österreichisches Architekturmuseum.
THE AUSTRIAN MUSEUM OF ARCHITECTURE AT THE SEMPER DEPOT BACKGROUND
Initiated in the late eighties by the then Austrian Minister of Science and Research Dr. Erhard Busek, the first comprehensive concept for an Austrian Museum of Architecture at the Semper Depot is drawn up by Spalt/Kapfinger. Dr. Konrad Oberhuber, at the time Director of the Albertina, is willing to turn the museum’s collection of modernist architecture (from 1848 on) over to the future Austrian Museum of Architecture. The authority in charge, the Federal Ministry of Science and Research, is in favor of the idea, but is prevented from founding the new museum by a report from the General Accounting Office, which prioritizes the renovation of existing museums. Originally managed by the Vienna University of Technology, the Semper Depot is subsequently turned over to the Academy of Fine Arts and commendably renovated by Prof. Carl Pruscha. It has been used by the Academy ever since.
Today the idea for an Austrian Museum of Architecture at the Semper-Depot is already twenty years old, but never before have the arguments and conditions been so compelling. And never before has cultural policy been presented with a so comprehensively well-planned conceptual and financially manageable basis for making ist decision.
1. The Museum of Architecture As A Permanent Tenant of the Semper Depot
To the owners, the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft (BIG), the Austrian Museum of Architecture is a convenient option because building regulations and restrictions regarding the preservation of historic monuments don’t allow a wide range of uses. At the same time, all the bureaucratic and technical conditions have already been met in terms of the uses and functions required by an Austrian Museum of Architecture. The Semper Depot is currently only partially being used by the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna as a studio building despite its unsuitability.
2. The Unique Synergy of ‹Museum› and ‹University›
The Vienna University of Technology’s decision to renovate its main building and expand is Getreidemarkt facilities produced a campus in the middle of the city which extends from Karlsplatz to Getreidemarkt to the Academy of Fine Arts on Schillerplatz. For the Museum of Architecture at the Semper Depot this would allow important synergy effects to take place through scientific cooperation and education between the Museum of Architecture and the architecture schools of both universities.
3. Upgrading the Collection of Modernist Architecture Through the Albertina Archive
Like his colleague Director Konrad Oberhuber twenty years before him, Director Klaus- Albrecht Schröder believes that in order to streamline the museum landscape it is justified and reasonable to turn the archive of modernist architecture over to the Az W/ Austrian Museum of Architecture. This opinion is shared by experts from the international scene. Architectural production methods, which have changed fundamentally
since the mid-nineteenth century, require a new structure and methods for the scientific processing and cataloging of architectural archives that are completely different from those used for classic graphic arts collections.
4. Adequate Permanent Collection
To a large though not exclusive extent due to the addition of the Albertina collection, the Az W has once and for all outgrown its Museumsquartier location. At this point, the Az W is already unable to adequately fulfill its function as the Austrian Museum of Architecture because its collection is too big for its current spaces. Whereas the Museumsquartier location offers no space for expansion, at the Semper Depot the
Az W would for the first time be able to launch a comprehensive and full-scale presentation of Austrian modernist architecture. A unique cultural policy opportunity.
5. Identity of Object and Function
The Semper Depot is not just a unique monument of Austrian archictectural history, is pioneering spatial composition and innovative building technology also predestines it to be a didactic site for a museum of Austrian modernist building culture. For a national and international target group of visitors this choice
of location means the building itself will be addressed for the first time and made accessible to the public. Simply put, there is for this function no better or more appropriate site and no better and more appropriate building in Austria.