The municipality in Vienna in the period between the end of the Habsburg Empire in 1918 and the anschluss of 1938 expended much energy in the provision of housing for the city’s working class, and many apartment blocks carry inscriptions with the city’s name, the date of building, and the architects, officials and politicians responsible for their construction.
The most celebrated of the municipal housing developments (Gemeindebauten) of this period is the Karl Marx Hof at Dobling in city’s 19th district, a structure about 1 km long, containing more than 1382 dwellings, designed by Karl Ehn (1884-1957), a pupil of Otto Wagner (1841-1918) and erected between 1927 and 1930. It houses about 5,000 people. The apartment blocks frame irregular courtyards, one of which, the 12 Februar Platz (named after an anti-Fascist demonstration of 1934) is open to the west, and bounded to the east by a six-storey range, pierced by four arched passageways and crowned with six towers.
Like all the large community buildings of Red Vienna, the Karl-Marx-Hof also had a whole range of infrastructure and community facilities, such as a mother's advice centre and a dental clinic, a health insurance office with outpatient clinic and its own library, a post office and a youth centre. Two central laundries, two kindergartens, the pharmacy as well as doctors' surgeries and shops are still in existence.
Museum "Das Rote Wien im Waschsalon"
A museum has been set up in the rooms of Laundromat No. 2, whose permanent exhibition presents the history of "Red Vienna" from 1919 to 1934/45, municipal housing and subsequent facilities, educational and cultural work, and the festive and celebratory culture of the Viennese labour movement.