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Access Denied - Reflection of the past - a timecapsule for Vienna

Part 2 Project 2013
Ricky Rijkenberg
Academie van Boukunst The Netherlands
They stand there like concrete giants in the urban landscape, odd men out in their surroundings. Some were never completed. Although ugly, they are at the same time incredibly beautiful. The flak towers were gigantic bunkers, a symbol of the megalomania and might of the Third Reich but at the same time a place of refuge and a guardian angel for thousands of inhabitants. In time these flak towers or their ruins were taken up in the city, silent witnesses to remind us of a horrific time that my generation knows only from stories. For many, the towers are ugly monstrosities; others are fascinated by these solid concrete outcrops. The fascination with this urban no-man's-land with its sensitive history led me to one take one of the largest fortification systems of the 20th century as the stepping-off point for my graduation project. The layers comprising this subject and the symbiosis of the unassailably massive concrete shells of the flak towers and their position in the city of Vienna allowed me to look in new ways at how architecture, history, landscape and their interventions can contribute to the collective memory of this city.Like an archaeologist I began to peel back the layers of Vienna, from its origins until the present day, and gather together the preserved traces hidden deep below its surface. From this I concluded that the concrete behemoths are not just a major part of Vienna's former fortifications but also represent a key component of the underground network as well as of the mystique surrounding Vienna. This led me to draw up a new map of the mental and physical foundations of Vienna of which the flak towers are part. It is a treasure map of all the myths and subterranean places Vienna has to offer. The map is a moment frozen in time but can always be supplemented.Instead of transforming or removing an existing mystical place I am adding to it a new building, a time capsule – a tower situated at the interface of narratives, imagination and hidden spaces; a addition to the network of the subterranean city.
Ricky Rijkenberg


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