October 27, 2009

What Was The Vienna Kindergarten At Expo67?

I'll take Impossibly Idyllic Children's Educational & Play Setups From The About-To-Be-Sobered Utopian 1960s for $100, Alek.

Besides the Austrian national pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal, the city of Vienna opened up an actual kindergarten.

30 kids at a time--10 pre-screened diversity types and 20 offspring of the quickest Quebeckers off the line--spent two weeks getting a top-flight preschool education from muitilingual Montessori teachers imported straight from Vienna, the city with which Maria Montessori is most often associated [If you remember that she worked almost her whole life in Rome, and what is Vienna, but the Rome of Austria? Think about it.]

Anyway, crazy-fresh playground equipment, an eye-popping modular, ply cube modernist building by Karl Schwander, Austria's pre-eminent expo pavilion architect [OK, he did one other one, Expo 58 in Brussels. But it was very popular. They even took it home when they were done.], and a bit of depersonalized makework, it was truly a children's paradise of the future of the past.


And all for just $2.50/day. And they probably got to keep the hats.

For other pictures and more details of the kindergarten, check out NCF's World Expo 67 - The Vienna Kindergarten page [ncf.ca]
or The Dixon Slide Collection at McGill University [mcgill.ca]


Ok, that thing is weird. Although if I were a kid I might think that was pretty cool.

I assume you know all about Aldo van Eyck's playgrounds? Not that it has anything to do with anything. Just that you should know.

When I see all those little children together in their shorts and hats, what immediately springs to mind is

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