Report on the excursion to Seestadt Aspern (2019)
Author / Photos: Jacqueline Raab, Theresa Oswald
In connection with the seminar The Future of Construction Processes, an excursion to the 22nd district of Vienna to Seestadt Aspern took place on May 29, 2019. The excursion group consisted of both university assistants and students who were looking forward to an exciting and informative afternoon.
The group was welcomed by Mr. Stefan Stiglbauer, an employee in the distribution department of the Vienna 3420 Aspern Development AG. Mr. Stiglbauer led the entire excursion and gave a first insight into the urban development project Seestadt Aspern in form of a lecture.
With a total investment volume of € 5 billion, Seestadt Aspern is one of the largest urban development projects in Europe. The area of the project is about 240 hectares, of which approximately half will have been built on when completed. The other half will comprise an impressive lake, parks and open spaces. Design and construction will be carried out in three stages, the last one ending in 2028. This new multifunctional district (2.6 million square meters gross floor area, with buildings up to 7 stories high) will feature not only apartment, office and manufacturing buildings, but the area will also be a place of science, research and education (kindergarten, elementary school, high school and more). In the future, Seestadt Aspern will offer space for 25,000 to 28,000 inhabitants and create up to 20,000 jobs.
Currently, architectural plans have been designed only for the southern part of Seestadt Aspern. Some southern areas are still in the construction phase, but quite a few apartment buildings have been completed, and new residents, mostly young families, have already moved into them. At this time, plans for the northern part of Seestadt Aspern consist of only sketches and a number of studies (for access roads, garage spaces etc.).
One of the highlights of the southern part is the realization of a new form of living concept: a group of people get together and decide to construct a building together, in which they will then also live as a community. Unique to this living concept and the buildings is that the eventual inhabitants get to "choose" their direct neighbors, the design and the room division. The buildings are characterized by many communal areas: they share a gym for children, a kitchen, a music room, a workroom, storage space etc.
"Energy and innovation" is one of the principal themes in Seestadt Aspern. Research has been done on energy use in different parts of various buildings (monitoring) and on the possibilities for energy production and storage. In the future, it should be possible for buildings to connect and exchange or share energy. Buildings should also be able to adapt to weather conditions (e.g. automatic lowering of blinds).
The aim of the entire project is to create a vibrant city, impressive in its diversity and sustainability. An important aspect of this diversity is the mix of different purposing and functions in the city as a whole and within individual buildings. An example is a newly built multi story car park that has a trampoline hall on the ground floor and football fields on the roof.
Sustainability is achieved primarily by reducing CO2 emissions. Essential to this is Seestadt Aspern’s proximity to the subway and the rapid railway system. The city´s mobility concept includes collective garages that encourage residents to walk to and from their cars. On one hand, the collective garages reduce the number of parking spaces on public property and on the other hand, achieve a long-term reduction of car traffic and degree of motorization. In addition, Seestadt Aspern enables every resident to travel with e-bikes, to be financed by future garage operators. Everyone gets a key card and can borrow e bikes for free in designated places. To ensure a smooth flow of bicycle traffic, cycling paths will be drawn throughout the city. Another special attraction of Seestadt Aspern will be the introduction of driverless busses.
En route to the southern part of Seestadt Aspern, which is in its final stages of completion, the excursion group could admire one of the project’s absolute highlights, the HoHo, which is currently the highest wooden building in the world.
Typical for the cityscape of Seestadt Aspern are wide sidewalks, narrow traffic lanes and curbs with a height of 2 centimeters, as the city is designed to be barrier-free. There are no shopping centers in the entire city; local suppliers are located solely on the ground floor areas of the buildings. Real estate developers commit themselves to providing shops on the ground floor of the newly constructed buildings. In order to guarantee a sufficient basic supply, the Aspern Einkaufsstraßen GmbH was founded, which rents shop spaces in certain core areas directly from the real estate developers and ultimately looks for or determines the tenants, e.g. pharmacies, grocery stores etc.
The development project of Seestadt Aspern implements innovative living concepts to meet upcoming urban challenges. Its future prospects are exciting and inspirational.