Architecture is often constrained, dictated or overregulated by building codes and other rules in many different ways but who has ever asked users or inhabitants of today’s architecture and urban development if they really want to spend their lives like this! A new exhibition at Vienna’s Az W brings this overregulation to the fore:
Laws, regulations and standardised norms have become key factors in the design process, which ought to be grounds for public debate.
This exhibition about regulations, which are themselves rarely featured in an architecture museum, tries to direct attention critically but also unavoidably humorously to the legal subtext of architecture and urban development. Case studies, explanations of terminology, historical and international comparisons show how strongly legislative compendia and reams of standardised norms have a significant impact on the design process. Interviews with architects, project developers, experts and building authority representatives shed light on the current situation in all of its complexity and incongruities, exploring leeway for interpretation that is also exploited in numerous workarounds.
The scope of Viennese building regulations, for example, has continually broadened since their introduction in 1829, supplemented, inter alia, by a rapid increase in regulations and standardised norms. The strict regulations in the building sector are inseparably tied to a shift in society, calling for guaranteed protection for citizens and care to be taken of the weakest. Today, in contrast, there are widespread complaints about the administration of potential risks, where playgrounds are designed for helicopter parents and grounds everywhere become higher and doors heavier. And while large parts of the building sector complain about the “flood of regulations”, on the other hand, the complexity of the regulations promotes a new model of society based on risk management. How could things go so far? Find out more at AzW!
Architekturzentrum Wien – Exhibition hall 2, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, Austria
Thu 23.11.2017 – Wed 04.04.2018
Curators: Martina Frühwirth, Karoline Mayer, Katharina Ritter, all Az W