deutsche Version Facebook Twitter Instagram

Form follows Rule

Category: Exhibition 12. December 2017

„Form follows Rule“ – the title of the new exhibition in the AzW Wien is a reference to Louis Sullivans’s famous phrase „form follows function“.

The first thematic exhibition under the new director Angelika Fitz was curated by Martina Frühwirth, Katharina Ritter and Karoline Mayer. Visitors will find a hands-on interactive presentation that deals with issues like the effects of building laws and regulations on architecture and urban planning. Besides creativity and economy, our constructed cityscape is very much shaped by the legal framework as well.

Guidelines, building regulations, standards – the rulebooks vary enormously, regionally and nationally. Vienna’s building code has 1000 pages, there are more than 2000 standards in Austria, besides that there are funding guidelines, building regulations, technical directives, liability issues – all that shapes architecture and area planning.

The exhibition design by Planet Architects constitutes an ironic comment on this jungle of regulations, with 7000 empty file folders arranged as partition walls.

How can architecture be practiced under these conditions? In the show there are exhibits with creative and sometimes amusing solutions from all over the world.
In spite of the similaritiy of human proportions, guidelines for stairs and handrails vary widely as far as inclination,measures etc. is concerned. The AzW installed life-size examples from all over the world, Switzerland, Japan, the US and others for visitors to climb on – on their own risk of course, as these stairs do not comply with regulations in Vienna.
The question how excessive caution regarding liability issues and the accompanying standardization influence our lives is demonstrated with the example of children’s playgrounds. Their safety standards have become increasingly stricter over the years, so that users are more and more deprived of their individual responsibility.

Safety or paternalism? The example of the playground installed on the premises of Vienna’s gardening fair in 1974 illustrates that such a playground would be considered a serious safety hazard nowadays. Bearing in mind that today there are 238 standards for playgrounds concerning ground covering, padding, height etc. one could suspect that in our current „totally insured society“ children would unlearn how to deal with risks on their own responsibility.

The same applies to fire protection, The Josephinian fire safety law of 1782 is on display as a facsimile in the exhibition, she has only a few pages, while fire regulations today are hundreds of pages long.
In separate thematic areas, there are case studies of the incidents that led to subsequent reforms of fire regulations, like the Ring Theatre disaster in 19th century Vienna and fire protections standards in different countries. Topics like historic preservation or standards for roof extensions are explained with documents, videos and a comprehensive glossary.
The interdisciplinary and practical exhibition demonstrates how much seemingly technical and objective construction laws depend on cultural and historical circumstances, and how much they reveal about the society that shapes them.
The exhibition „Form follows Rule“ continues until April 4th, 2018 in the AzW, Museumsquartier, 1070 Vienna.

Website -

Our offer – in the art sector

Audio and video productions as all-inclusive service

Our passion for art and our years of experience in the field of audio and video production enable us to produce complex content in a straightforward, authentic and aesthetically sophisticated way. Our approach stands out by its high committment, flexibility and efficiency.

The CastYourArt full-service offer for artists, galleries, museums, exhibition centers and other players in the art sector includes project development, an experienced storytelling resulting in an credible style, film production and post-production and formats ready to be embeded in various internet media or to be used offline.

If you are interested in CastYourArt‘s editorial coverage with additional benefits, please contact us.


KA21 GmbH/ CastYourArt

Office Vienna
Stuckgasse 1/2 (LOKAL)
1070 Vienna

Tel +43 1 99 717 21
E-Mail: office[at]

More Info


Subscribe now to the new CastYourArt newsletter