By some miracle, I booked the best Airbnb in Vienna. Ok maybe it wasn’t the BEST, but it was really really good. It was my first Airbnb experience and it took about an hour and a half to actually get into the flat, but once my friend and I were in, we were set. There was a curious stair outside the door to the apartment; naturally, we were up it like a shot. The little ladder led us to the rooftop of the building – that’s when I saw Vienna and all of its layers.
Looking down into the complex we were staying in was like looking at a layering of time. While the exterior façade was consistent, the innards were definitely not. It looked like the old roof had been lifted and removed, and a new interior now filled its elderly shell. The idea that architecture could physically stack itself like sedimentary rock was one that didn’t seem absurd, but it was an idea I had never seen practiced until that day. I was in awe of our building only to turn around and see the roofs of the buildings just across the way had the same additive characteristics.
The following day my gaze was on the streets - drinking in all that Vienna had to offer - but I looked up too. Vienna was chalk full of these muffin top buildings. Some distinctly present from the street while others lay tucked away.
In the face of densification, to knock down and rebuild cannot be the answer. Vienna is a testament to stunning architecture after stunning architecture because it is evolutionary - it is adaptive.