Working Women Housing | Pilot project for Housing Research

Almost 100 years ago, the architect Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky developed the prototype of an “apartment for the working woman”; this was her contribution to the architectural question of how an apartment can be affordable for low-income, single women.

Today, the precarious situation of women is changed, but not less precarious. Self-determination achieved by the women’s movements still often comes at a high price: a large number of single and/or single mothers are poor or at risk of poverty or live in precarious circumstances, i.e. in existentially insecure working and/or living conditions. They are usually poor in spite of work (“working poor”). Even today, the housing and living conditions of women are still shaped by social power relations.

One century after the beginning of the achievements of Red Vienna, which are still exemplary today, and after decades of the women’s movement and the history of emancipation, the aim of this study is to present alternatives to paternalistic housing models. In the following, living is understood in a broader sense: as living that is not only affordable, but also enables participation in society – without playing arriving women and established residents off against each other, and without planning on the scale of an “existence minimum” that would only be a “roof over one’s head”.

The first part of the study is devoted to understanding today’s housing situation and draws on the knowledge of affected women themselves as well as supporting organizations. The second part is devoted to the conception of a prototype of a housing project for the 2020s, for affordable, cool and non-exclusive housing for everybody, while affirmatively supporting women rights to housing.

Research and pilot project for a prototype housing block for women,
commissioned by: MA50 Housing Research program of the City of Vienna,
2019

Team: Gabu Heindl, Lisa Schönböck, Stana Marjanovic, Hannah Niemand
With: Sarah Kumnig
In Cooperation with: MA57, FSW, Housing First, HOPE Austria, u.a.

Currently in process
Result in German