Degrading air raid tower in a park in Vienna

© Joshua Armstrong | Unsplash

ISS August 2023

Architectural Conversion of a degrading Flak Tower

SE057.007 & SE057.009 (3.0 ECTS)

This seminar was created for hosting short workshops with Japanese partner universities. The course aims on elaborating specific topics which have to be investigated in Vienna. In addition to the research objective, the intensive teamwork leads to a better intercultural understanding and improves social and communication skills.

This semester's seminar is tailored to students from Saga University / Japan, but we invite also local TU Wien architecture students to join this course from August 28th until September 4th, 2023.

During the workshop, we will analyse the current situation and create architectural concepts to give these massive monuments a new purpose. The six remaining towers remind us of the darkest times of WW II, therefore this task has to be treated with a high amount of sensitivity.  


The goal of the short design workshop is the architectural conversion of the (Flak Turm) combat tower at Augarten. Due to the limited time, the suggested solutions should be presented as utilization and design concepts. We don’t expect detailed plans.
A conversion of a historical building demands a critical reflection of the sensitive past – especially in this case as the object is not just an anti-war monument but also a reminder of the darkest times in Austria’s history. Therefore, the new function as well as the architectural interventions have to be considered with a high amount of sensitivity and understanding.
Find the right way of presentation as if you would take part in an architecture competition. Make the most of your limited time, find good arguments for the suggested reuse und choose the best method of visualizing your ideas. 
Creating an architectural reuse concept for historical structures, especially those with a dark past like associations with National Socialism, requires a thoughtful and sensitive approach. Here are some important considerations:
1. Historical Context:
Understand the historical context and significance of the structure. Conduct thorough research on its original purpose, design, and any events or individuals associated with it during the National Socialist era. This will help inform your approach to reuse and ensure you are respectful of its history.
2. Preservation of Heritage:
Respect and preserve the historical significance of the structure while integrating new functions. Aim to maintain its authenticity and integrity, so future generations can learn from and understand the past.
3. Ethical and Moral Considerations:
Acknowledge the dark past and the impact of the structure's history on affected communities. Be mindful of the potential sensitivities and traumas associated with the site and its associations.
4. Educational Opportunities:
Incorporate educational elements into the reuse concept. Use the structure as an opportunity to educate visitors and the public about the historical period, its lessons, and the importance of preventing similar events from occurring in the future.
5. Adaptive Reuse:
Consider adaptive reuse to breathe new life into the structure while preserving its historical value. Adaptation should be carefully planned to ensure the new use does not overshadow or erase the historical significance.
6. Memorialization:
Consider the incorporation of a memorial or commemorative element to honor the victims and events of the past. This can serve as a reminder of historical atrocities and promote empathy and understanding.
7. Contextual Design:
Integrate the structure into its surrounding environment in a sensitive manner. Avoid creating a stark contrast that might cause discomfort or disharmony.
8. Cultural Sensitivity:
Ensure the reuse concept respects the diverse cultures and values of the local community and nation as a whole. Avoid promoting ideologies that may be offensive or harmful.
By carefully considering these aspects, you can create an architectural reuse concept that honors the past, educates the present, and inspires a responsible future.

Local TU Wien architecture students can apply to join this program by sending their short motivation letter to .

The seminar is hosted by JASEC, the Japan Austria Science Exchange Center at TU Wien. This unit is responsible for the coordination of the scientific exchange between all faculties of TU Wien and Japanese universities and research institutions.