In memoriam HARRY GLÜCK – ab obit

Helga Fassbinder


The renowned Viennese architect Harry Glück died on 13.12.2016. He was one of the great pioneers of green architecture in the dense city. We at Biotope City Journal have published several articles about him and his work in the past. Even at the age of almost 92, he was still an enthusiastic architect with a comprehensive view of people and society, who worked tirelessly for high-quality social housing that would enable a dignified life.

The fact that he had already put out feelers for “Biotope City” many years ago, when the concept of the dense city as nature hardly appealed to anyone in the architects’ and urban planners’ scene, shows not only his openness, but more than that: his ability to think far ahead and draw conclusions for his subject, even in old age.

Harry Glück, with his tireless commitment and his great sense of social responsibility, has left behind an important work that is more than ever a guide for architects in urban housing. He stood in the tradition of Viennese housing construction, which began in the 1920s with exemplary housing estates such as the Wiener Höfe. The Alterlaa high-rise residential estate in Vienna, built in the 1970s, is still very popular with residents today and is a model of how high-rise residential buildings can also lead to a high standard of living, so that residents no longer feel like moving, but prefer to spend their weekends and short holidays at home. This social housing complex with its three residential towers also proves that it is indeed possible to have a lively, active, positive sense of community among its residents. Glück’s other projects, which are integrated into the skyline of the city centre, almost all of them built as social housing, are still exemplary, as is Alterlaa. They all have a swimming pool on the roof.

Harry Gück had pushed ahead with projects right up to the end of his life that were to give shape to his basic philosophy: His aim was to create situations in social housing that would meet people’s basic needs for proximity to greenery and water. This was the basis of our cooperation. The first project of this cooperation was the Altmannsdorfer Dreieck in Vienna, which unfortunately could not be realised as green as concopted due to fire protection regulations. The second project, the “Biotope City Wienerberg”, is under construction and will be ready for occupancy at the end of 2020. The International Building Exhibition Vienna IBA 2022 considers this project a candidate for a pilot project for the 2022 exhibition.