WUK is an acronym and stands for “Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus”, roughly meaning “House for Workshops and Culture”. The building islaid out on 12,000 square metres and includes a stage, a concert hall, an exhibition hall and photo gallery, workshops and studios, work spaces for socio-political groups, a place for education and counselling, a senior citizens’ centre and school, rehearsal studios for music and dance, an intercultural centre, work stations and a party space.
The WUK is a place for study, for trying and doing things, for participation and sharing. The WUK creates leeway for creativity. It is a laboratory and a place of practice in one.
Measured in terms of square metres and versatility, the WUK is one of the largest socio-cultural centres in Europe. More than 200,000 people visit and make use of the WUK every year.
The WUK is an open cultural space,a space for lived interaction between art, politics and social issues. An expanded cultural concept becomes manifest, which transcends the everyday meaning of the word culture.
As a socio-cultural centre it focuses on advancing processes of emancipation, independence and help to self-help, cultural work in the community, self-management, self-organisation and autonomy.
As a centre of art and culture, the main emphasis is on the promotion of the production and presentation of innovative, experimental, interdisciplinary, critical art and culture on a local, regional and international level.
WUK’s organisational structure comprises of three pillars: Cultural Productions, WUK Education and Counselling as well as the WUK Socio-Cultural Centre. The WUK legal entity is the “Verein zur Schaffung offener Kultur- und Werkstättenhäuser” (Association for the Creation of Open Culture and Workshop Houses), and constitutes the legal umbrella organisation for these three pillars. A six-member board heads the association and decides the strategic direction of WUK. At the annual general assembly of the members fundamental decisions are made, and every two years a new board is elected. All of the current 650 WUK members have voting rights. (2023)
This early industrial complex was initially built in 1855 as a locomotive factory; from 1884 to 1980 it was home to the “Technological Trades Museum” (TGM), an institutional connection between research, exhibitions and training for technical professionals.
In 1979/1980 the building was abandoned and in a state of decay. In addition to diverse commercial and municipal plans there was always a concrete interest in an “alternative” function. In the sociopolitical context of the evicted Arena, the spectacular youth protests in neighbouring countries, alternative work and culture theoreticians, zero growth in the economy and the tinkling of broken windows on the Kärntnerstraße,social workers, artists, teachers, architects, feminist groups, students and pensioners come together under the motto “Save the TGM” to discuss the content and material requirements for the creation of an alternative, autonomous cultural enterprise. (2023)
Location: Währinger Straße 59, 1090 Vienna.