The Summer Design Studio

has started!

The Summer Design Studio has started with 42 international and local students, working on concepts relating to tactical urbanism and designs for an information center at the Karlsplatz.




Fotos © Eva Manhart


Organization and dates
Announcement:         Tue 03.05.2016
Application*:             Wed 01.06.2016
Introduction:             Tue 7.6.2016
Workshop:                 Mon 29.8. – Fr 2.9.2016
Final Presentation:    Tue 11.10. 2016
*with a portfolio to the Department of Spatial and Sustainable Design


The 2016 summer school provides the unique opportunity to work with the winners of the Blue Award 2016 within the framework of the summer design course. The Blue Award is among other things intended to promote an exchange between students and teachers. The winners of the Blue Award 2016 will be present in Vienna as part of the WTCE World Conference on Timber Engineering.

The aim of the summer design studio is to employ a different approach to planning in line with the concepts of Tactical Urbanism and experiment with different strategies to improve the quality of urban space. As a case study we will look at Karlsplatz in Vienna. Following a close reading of other public spaces in the city, the students are required to come up with ideas and strategies to be first tested on Karlsplatz and then implemented in their planning concept.


Design Course

“Since the Karlsplatz is only partly formed by proper walls, while the rest is surrounded by various conglomerates of houses in the most ugly way, and in many places even these borders do not exist, in its present state Karlsplatz cannot be described as a square at all.” Otto Wagner 1910 (Source: Am Puls der Stadt - 100 Jahre Karlplatz, Wien Museum).


Since the middle of the 19th century Vienna’s Karlsplatz has been the subject of planning, discussion and much controversy. Karlsplatz has an important function as a traffic hub. It is an important urban landscape in the centre of Vienna and a place in which several historic buildings are situated. It has always been a part of the city in which different and contradicting interests have been projected.


In the past hundred years Otto Wagner, Adolf Loos, Josef Hoffmann, Roland Rainer, Erich Boltenstern, Georg Lippert, Oswald Haerdtl and many other local and international architects have come up with plans and concepts for Karlsplatz. Through numerous competitions, plans and suggestions it has been an experimental space for the city of Vienna and for modernist ideas. Many of these plans were never implemented or were only provisional. So Karlsplatz remains unfinished! It is a left out space for urban utopias and therefore holds a lot of potential for future developments.  (Source: Der Kalsplatz in Wien, Geschäftsgruppe Stadtplanung, Stadt Wien).


Tactical Urbanism has evolved in recent years as a planning approach aimed at improving the quality of urban spaces through incremental small-scale interventions. This approach draws on local expertise to experiment with new ideas before political and financial commitments are made. It is characterized by a phased approach to bringing about change. The solutions proposed are local, they include small and short-term commitments and carry little risk. When implemented, their results may be observed and measured in real time. The interventions are low cost and flexible. This allows for the design to be calibrated and changed to meet the needs in a particular context. (source: Tactical Urbanism Vol.1, The Street Plans Collaborative).


Through the analysis of existing urban spaces in Vienna and by identifying their role and function as communication spaces, the students are required to assess their qualities and implement them in their own design strategy for Karlsplatz. Urban Tactics methods and tools are to be employed as a testing field for ideas, followed by concrete and precise designs to be translated into drawings and models.



· Basic research and analysis of selected places of communication in Vienna.
(Erdberg bus terminal, Mexikoplatz, Westbahnhof, Millennium City, Herbststraße, Floridsdorf station, Reumannplatz…)
· International workshop as part of the WCTE and the presentation of the Blue Award 2016.
· Documentation and elaboration of the results.


For more information please contact: anton.kottbauer@tuwien.ac.at or basma.abu-naim@tuwien.ac.at

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