The project "Donaukanal Partitur - Regulation- and Development-Guidelines for the Viennese Danube Canal"
is a commission by the Vienna Municipal Department 19 - Architecture and Urban Design - based on the
winning proposal of an invited competition.
It comprises two urban planning tools - one regulatory: the "Nicht-Bebauungsplan"
, one developmental:
a series of "Urban Scores"
- specifically designed for that linear urban space of the Viennese Danube Canal
along the water. These tools have also become part of a more general discussion around new planning tools
for public space within city planning.
The planning area consists of 162.500 m2 of river bench land valuable to the city of Vienna which will
grow considerably in the next 20 years (20.000 new inhabitants per year). Hence, there is growing demand
for central housing and more density. With the new (international) tendency of cities valuing their river
benches, Vienna also experiences an intense pressure from private investors to occupy the place with private
gastronomy. With this new awareness the Danube Canal can also take a leading role for central and free
non-commercial space for leasure and recreation for the Viennese population as well as for visitors -
reweaving the urban carpet along 17 km where, for a long time, people only perceived a gap in the city.
History of the project and the project site
The "Donaukanal" ("Danube Canal") is to a large extent marked by the regulation plan drawn by Otto Wagner
at the end of the 19th century. The first Vienna Metropolitan Railway was built by Wagner along the Danube
Canal with "cinematographic" windows looking out to the water while passing by - to name just one of many
spatial historic qualities worth preserving or enhancing again by means of the project.
Within the general change of European cities from industrial to cultural cities and as part of the STEP 2005 the
Viennese Danube Channel has been appointed a "target area" for city development in Vienna and since then
been subjected to investments mostly of design gastronomy - which made the "low-line" of Vienna a more active
and lively place than it has been for many years, but also increased the proportion of consumption spaces to
such a high level, that in some areas there is hardly any place left for what used to be a "free" and "cheap"
recreation place right in the middle of the City (e.g. during the depression era of the 1930s it was called
the "Viennese Riviera".)
"Donaukanal Partitur - Regulation- and Development-Guidelines for the Viennese Danube Canal"
The process-based approach includes earlier studies, a masterplan as well as all stake-holders throughout the
process. It´s goal is certainly not about creating any sort of "corporate identity" for this large site, but to create
a consistent planning culture when it comes to public space, to set up rules transparent to the public;
a sort of advocacy planning in favor of future, yet unknown ways of public interaction intervention or use the place.
Project part 1: Non-Building Plan
In order to stop the neo-liberal development of "privatizing" large pieces of the river bench, a
"Nicht-Bebauungsplan" is formulated as the base for any further development. Based on the
notions of zoning plans or legally binding land-use-plans, the "Non-Building-Plan" describes
all areas which have to be kept free from any built structure in order to ensure enough place
for any sort of use by pedestrians, cyclists, families, youth, tourists, etc.
Special care is being taken to "read" the exisiting qualities of the space in order to allow joyful arrival, open
access to the water, width to ensure safety even with increased use, open sight and vision.
Project part 2: "Partituren"
Four different plans "read" the linear place in the manner of a score, analysing existing and planning new
infrastructure for future development. The creation of the "Partituren" involves topics from the field of
architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, clean up and restoration, traffic design, mobility,
logistics of the place, electricity, water and waste management.
Gabu Heindl, Susan Kraupp
Karlis Berzins, Gaspar Hajdu, Markus Illetschko, Irina Koerdt (Wettbewerb)
Stadt Wien - MA 19 - Architektur und Stadtgestaltung
content: (c) GABU Heindl Architektur 2015