Oesterreichischer Werkbund

Werkbund, Österreichischer, association of artists, industrialists and craftsmen founded in 1912 (in analogy with the German Werkbund, 1907) to promote high quality in craftsmanship according to the standards demanded by Jugendstil in terms of materials and forms in all fields of the fine arts and architecture and the application of these standards to industrial production. Numerous members of the Vienna Secession , whose most prominent artist was Josef Hoffmann , and of the Wiener Werkstätte workshops participated in exhibitions organised by the Werkbund, for instance in Cologne in 1914 ("Austria House", with contributions by J. Hoffmann, O. Strnad , A. Hanak , F. Barwig , D. Peche , E. J. Wimmer, H. Tessenow and others). After 1918, the Österreichischer Werkbund focussed on building municipally financed housing (e.g. Winarskyhof, 20th district, Vienna, by J. Frank , O. Wlach and others). In the 1920s, two provincial organisations split off: the "Werkbund Wien" in 1920 (re-unified with Österreichischer Werkbund in 1926), and the "Steiermärkischer (Styrian) Werkbund" in 1923. An exhibition organised by the Österreichischer Werkbund in 1930 gave new impetus to joint activities, such as building a Werkbund housing estate in Vienna (1931/32, artistic direction by J. Frank, buildings by C. Holzmeister , A. Loos , R. Neutra , E. Plischke etc.), which was the only project of its sort in international architecture of that time. The organisation was divided again in 1934, and the "Neuer Werkbund Österreich" (with C. Holzmeister as president) was created. This division, as well as the emigration of a number of major artists, weakened the Österreichischer Werkbund to such an extent that it never regained its earlier significance.