TEDxVienna @ OpenHouse

1 city, 2 days, 70 houses and a lot to discover – last weekend, OpenHouse had its premiere in Vienna. Since their concept perfeclty complements our idea of CITYx, the TEDxBloggers went on a tour through the “dirty districts” of Vienna to shine a different light on the lesser known parts of the city.

OpenHouse aims on offering new perspectives on urban design and architecture. It opens the doors of any interesting buildings – be it office complex, educational building or abandoned factory. First held in London over 20 years ago, the initiative soon spread over the world, with Vienna being the 23rd city to join a list that includes – among others – Buenos Aires, Melbourne, New York or Tel Aviv.

#1 urbanauts

The TEDxBloggers Tour started in front of St. Elisabeth in the 4th district, close to the Belvedere. Just across the road one used to find a “Trafik” – a tobacco store – until the URBANauts turned it into one of their street lofts.

URBANauts is a group of young designers developing a new generation of city hotels. They provide an authentic, unique experience for urban travellers by turning unoccupied “Gassenlokale” into little hotel rooms – no lobby, no reception, no bar. Instead, the URBANauts supply a network of so-called “fellows”: from the closeby café that offers the breakfast in the morning to a spot on the guest list of popular night clubs. The formula of “simple idea + unique approach” seems to be succesful and the network of street lofts across Vienna will keep growing.

#2 sonnwendviertel

Hidden behind the railtracks leading to the southern parts of the city is Viennas newest, biggest and most innovative educational building complex: Campus Sonnwendviertel, which includes kindergarten, primary and secondary school within one symbiotic, energy-efficient structure.

PPAG – responsible for the famous Enzis at MQ – designed a space that defies the strict seperation of education and recreation. Their concept was to create a living sphere, “a city within a city” that enables an educational paradigm shift. Square-shaped classes are assembled in clusters around so-called “marketplaces” for the children to meet and network.

#3 markterei @ ankerbrot

Diving deeper into the industrial areas of Favoriten, Viennas 10th district, the TEDxBloggers ended up at what used to be the Anker Brot factories – but is now the home to lofts, ateliers, offices galleries & bars.

Already an insider tip among the hip crowds of the city, the OpenHouse weekend also marked the premiere of a new regular event called “Markterei”. For the first time, the factory – built step by step between 1892 and 1926 – dressed up as a market for local products of high quality and sustainable nature. After generating a big buzz on their opening day one can only assume that “Markterei” will turn into an institution for those who like to enjoy culinary experiences of a different kind.

#4 balloonart

Not far down the road, we checked into another factory: the BalloonArt building. Friedrich Achleitner once described the style as “basilical” and, as a matter of fact, the three-naved insides do have a church-like feeling to them. It was modernised in 2005 under the theme old stays old, but new demands change”. The gallery was seperated with windows and is now home to office areas, with the large hall downstairs also serving as an event location for clubbings and fashion shows.

#5 microsoft headquarters

Definitely one of the highlights of OpenHouse Vienna 2014 were the Microsoft Headquarters. While rebuilding a few years ago, they decided that their new offices had to combine phsyical, virtual and social aspects of a perfect working space.

Cafeteria, thinktanks, video-conference booths, playground and differently themed meeting rooms – those responsible put all their creativity into designing a place where one actually enjoys spending ones time. This was highlighted in the way we finished our tour – instead of taking the stairs, we went on a slide. In case you are wondering: yes, it was great fun.


After spending several hours wandering in and around all different kinds of buildings a city like Vienna has to offer, the only downside in the OpenHouse project seems to be the fact that it is basically impossible to check out everying on offer. Therefore, we sincerely hope that we will get another opportunity next year.

For those who can’t wait any longer – or those who got their fair share, but are still keen on discovering more about what makes the perfect city, see you at our next event: CITYx

Check out more images on our Flickr account!

Header image credits royalty free

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