A PATTERN LANGUAGE: SCHWEDENPLATZ – MORZINPLATZ

Stadtlabor 2012

Theoretical revision of the area Schwedenplatz – Morzinplatz, Vienna

With: Neumann Antonia and Mayregger Hanno 

resulting design-lable: MUSTERSPRACHE

The Schwedenplatz | Morzinplatz is often referred to as 'Gstättn', as a pile or an arrangement of its elements. At first glance, it looks untidy, chaotic and full. In Vienna, the square – here usually meant the Schwedenplatz – is referred to as urban problem child. The task of rethinking these two squares on an urban scale, perhaps even giving them a new uniting 'face', begged us the question of a different approach. It was clear to us that this could not be tackled with usual steps of urban design. The book "A Pattern Language" by Christopher Alexander, describing of every conceivable element, in almost every scale, aroused the idea to analyze the square, considering its individual parts on the basis of this historical classic.

A selection of 50 patterns, in our opinion relevant to the design of the Schwedenplatz | Morzinplatz, provided the conditions for the analysis. As a methodology to investigate this hypothesis, a matrix was created that would relate these 50 patterns to each other. Discussing each of these individual relationships – 2.500 in number – the effects of each single pattern on the remaining 49 patterns and itself were identified. It was important to us that we always understood the patterns according to Christopher Alexander's description, but always in relation to the application at Schwedenplatz | Morzinplatz in order to be able to regard the results as relevant for the design of these places.