Spittelau Viaducts Housing Project (Zaha Hadid Architects)

Zaha-Hadid-Haus, Spittelauer Lände, Wien-Alsergrund, Austria


In 1994, Zaha Hadid and Brian Clarke collaborated on a proposal for her building in Spittelau, Vienna. Ultimately unrealised, the integral art scheme for the housing estate was worked out through sketches, watercolour designs, several working architectural models and ZH Architects' renderings. A sample panel for a portion of the scheme, in itself a major independent artwork, was fabricated. The majority of the mouth-blown stained glass, traditionally but virtuosically leaded, would have clad the elevations along the axis of the building, with the mosaic element of the design forming four orange slashes on the roof which fold down the face of one side of the building. Clarke developed a new type of glass, without historical precedent, for the project, devised to accommodate the needs of the site – christened 'Zaha-Glas', it was blown for the sample panel for Spittelau, exhibited at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1995 alongside Hadid's model and in the exhibition Brian Clarke and Linda McCartney: Collaborations at the Deutsches Glasmalerei-Museum, and in Switzerland at Vitromusée Romont. 'Zaha-Glas' found its first realised architectural application in Clarke's 1996 interior scheme for Pfizer World Headquarters.

"Zaha Hadid describes the project thus: 'Spittelau revitalises a waterfront zone in Vienna by linking the water's edge to the city fabric through an existing former railway viaduct, and the project acts as both an attractor and initiator for further interventions along the Danube Canal. A series of artist studios, offices and commercial spaces weave like a ribbon through, around and over arched bays of the old viaduct designed by Otto Wagner. There are 19 shops and 10 office units. Shops, cafés and restaurants on the ground floor of the three separate buildings cater to the pedestrian path on the river front. This path also leads to a nightclub in the old subway tunnel adjacent to the viaduct. The whole project is linked to the nearby University by a pedestrian bicycle bridge.'" from Brian Clarke–Linda McCartney: Collaborations.