Gabu Heindl

Radical Democracy and Architecture. Politics, Positions, Planning

Series: New Canonical Histories
Date: Thursday 9 May 2019
Time: 18:30
Venue: AA Lecture Hall
Running time: 98 mins

The politics of radical democracy maintain the task of deepening democratic relationships at a moment when neoliberalism and nationalist-authoritarian policies work together in co-producing post-democratic public spheres – the post-democratic city. 


A radical-democratic conception of architecture and urbanism connects with the popular agency originating with democratic social and political movements. While the planner brings her expertise into alliances with, for example, anti-racist or feminist politics, she enters into such articulations not without critically examining her own role as bearer of knowledge and, thus, authority. What is at stake is a self-distancing of the expert – while taking responsibility and employing knowledge and planning tools, especially when commons have to be defended/expanded against capital takeovers.


Gabu Heindl unfolds these topics with regard to a) current anti-capitalist struggles over housing and public space in Vienna; b) their work on intersectionality in housing; and c) a magistrate-commissioned non-building plan which became politically articulated in an alliance with a bottom-up urban movement.


Gabu Heindl is an architect, urban planner, and theorist in Vienna. She teaches as a Visiting Professor at Sheffield University and at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. The work of GABU Heindl Architektur is in public space/buildings, collective housing, urban planning/urban research. She studied at Princeton University (as a Fulbright Scholar), Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, and Geidai University, Tokyo. From 2013-2017, she was chairwoman of The Austrian Society for Architecture (ÖGFA) and is the author of numerous publications, and curator of exhibitions and symposia. Her work has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale, the Hong Kong & Shenzhen Biennale, Storefront for Art and Architecture in NY, et al. Gabu lectures internationally, on topics including the housing politics of Red Vienna with regard to contemporary Rebel Cities. Her current research deals with the relationship of architecture and urban planning to radical democracy.


Photo Credit: The Promises of Modernist Premises: Pool Trakiya, Plovdiv/BG, GABU Heindl Architektur, 2016 © Gabu Heindl



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