Liquid Public Space

The city of Vienna provides an exemplary dense infrastructure of both indoor pools and natural water as easily accessible urban resources throughout the year. Dating back to the times of the Red Vienna and its innovative measurements to improve public health and democratize recreation the Social Design studio puts an emphasis on projects dealing with the topic. The unconditional access to water and its positive impact represents a political aim that needs to be pursued.

Projects in Liquid Public Space


Schwimmverein Donaukanal

A fluid-structure that aims to weave a social fabric around the practice of urban bathing

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Wir gehen alle baden

Social infrastructures are not limited to water, gas, electricity or public transport.

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Wildbad - Weltbad

reclaiming commodified touristic spaces in Bad Gastein

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The notion of public space needs to be considered also in its potential to provide any urban population with the possibility to take care of one’s personal health and recreation. Within this general assumption the unconditional access to water, the chance to swim and to refresh oneself, to profit from given or built liquid resources and infrastructure is regarded as an important topic within the Social Design studio’s projects.

Illustration: Sophie Bösker

The works so far address the empowerment of locals in Bad Gastein, a world-famous spa in the mountains of Salzburg exposed to over-tourism, where the hot springs seem to be reserved for the travelers.

Other projects claim public access to Vienna’s Donaukanal, a central water street which used to serve as an urban beach but is now dominated by cruising boats. Or the artistic research project focusing on a public bath in Vienna, the exemplary “Amalienbad”, built in the 1920s as a Proletarian palace and still functioning not only as an easily accessible swimming pool and sauna but as an urban anchor point in a big and diverse district, synthesizing social and many other differences. Water as a precious resource is promoting social cohesion, the economies of daily lives and offers chances of the good life and luxury for all – central themes of the department.

Amalienbad von oben. Illustration: Sophie Bösker