One Hundred Thirty Years Viennese Cottage

Austrian Press Agency (APA) (10/24/03)

Book Presentation and Exhibit Emphasize the Historical Significance of the Noble District of Währing and Döbling

Vienna – During the fall of the Habsburg Monarchy, the middle class reflected a symbiosis of the well educated- and the economic prosperous people attracted to the Cottage, the exclusive villa area located in the periphery west of Vienna. The book, Im Cottage von Währing/Döbling …interessante Häuser- interessante Menschen (English: In the Cottage of Währing/Döbling….Interesting Houses, Interesting People), is dedicated to the historical and cultural heritage of this still exquisite and favored residential area, whose layout at one time oriented itself toward the English archetype of residential living. At the opening of a special exhibit in the Währinger District Museum, the author, Heidi Brunnbauer, presented her book on the topic.

In the dialect of Vienna, “koteesch” corresponds to the English word, cottage, little house, or small, elegant country house in rustic style. The origin of Vienna’s Cottage district, currently consisting of about 8,000 residents, is inseparable from the name of the famous architect who designed the Ringstraße, Heinrich von Ferstel. His vision (which became a reality with the founding of the “Viennese Cottage Association” in 1872/73 and still exists to this day) was to build a middle class one- and two-family house with a garden as an answer to the palaces in Wilhelminian style and the after-effect of the housing speculation.

In order to protect the character of the park-like area and permanent quality of living, the Cottage-Servitut emphasized the principle of mutual consideration and obliged everyone who purchased property to respect certain limits regarding style and usage.

Originally conceived as a form of residential living for middle class civil servants, officers and teachers, the Cottage (which since 1890 belongs to Vienna) soon became the domicile of artists, composers (Emmerich Kálmán, Theodor Leschetitzky, Mathilde Kralik) and writers. Arthur Schnitzler characterized the psycho-social fabric of the area’s milieu of Viennese society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Among the many prominent people living in the Cottage were actors like Max Devrient or the Thimig family, or the pioneer of Zionism, Theodor Herzl, the physicist, Ludwig Boltzmann, the philosopher, Richard Kralik Ritter von Mayrswalden, the economist and sociolgist, Othmar Spann, the historian, Erich Zöllner and the sculptor, Fritz Wotruba. There, where the Turkish besiegers of Vienna barricaded themselves in 1683, wealthy representatives from the world of finance and industry built their homes. Such was the case of the sugar industrialist, Siegfried Strakosch von Feldringer, whose villa was “arianized” by the Nazis in 1938. Those families whose members were persecuted, like Schnitzler’s son, Heinrich, were forced to emigrate.

Brunnbauer, Heidi; Im Cottage von Währing/Döbling…interessante Häuser – interessante Menschen. Edition Weinviertel. 268 pages, ISBN 3-901616-61-6, €29.70