© Photo by Quentin Schulz on Unsplash

Ugly Vienna?

A walked (re)consideration of the city’s unattractive and overlooked spaces

An interactive workshop with Eugene Quinn
Convened by Ellen Nathues, Monica Nadegger, Daniel Wolfgruber, Boukje Cnossen & Nicolas Bencherki 
July 7, 2022, at 6.00 pm
Obere Augarten Str 40, 1020, Vienna (AT)

Why this Workshop?

“Beauty can be boring – but ugly never is.”
Eugene Quinn – spaceandplace, Vienna Ugly Tours

What we consider ugly and beautiful is, first, a matter of taste, and second, never fixed but always fluid, relational, and negotiable. With the SCO Workshop “Ugly Vienna?”, we re-orient our perception of the ugly and the beautiful. 

With its roots between Empress Sisi and imperial palaces, opera houses, and churches, Vienna is usually known for its timeless beauty. For this workshop, we turn away from beauty and perfection as we step into Vienna’s dark, gloomy, and daunting spacesor short: into the ugly side of Vienna. The workshop will challenge the image of Vienna beyond clichés and celebrate ugliness as a crucial part of a vibrant city with all its challenges, innovations, and adventures.

The “Ugly Vienna?” Workshop invites us to turn our gaze to the leftovers and the bizarre architecture of Vienna on a fascinating city walk.

Workshop Outline

Together with Eugene Quinn, a Vienna-based urbanist and founder of the political culture group Whoosh, we discuss and struggle with what we consider ugly, beautiful, or both while exploring Viennese architecture’s gruesome mistakes. The tour ends at magdas with the opportunity to engage in discussions about the beauty of ‘ugly’ Vienna with Eugene, learn more about Eugene’s work, and finish the evening with some drinks & snacks.

DURATION: About 2.5 hours (including the walking tour & after-talk at magdas)


The times mentioned are estimates.

  • 6.00-6.15 pm: Arrival & start of the tour

Meeting point: Obere Augartenstrasse 40, 1020 (4 minutes walk from U2 Tabor Str)

  • 6.15-7.30 pm: Walking tour ‘Ugly Vienna’ with Eugene Quinn

  • 7.30-8.30 pm: Presentation and Q&A with Eugene Quinn at magdas hotel

The participation is free and also open to people not attending the EGOS colloquium in Vienna. The number of participants is limited (first come, first served). You can register here until the 1st of July:


We will meet opposite of Obere Augartenstraße 40 next to the main entrance of the Augarten park. From the WU Campus, take the metro U2 at “Krieau” (direction “Schottentor”) station and exit at the third stop “Tabor Straße”. For the detailed meeting point please check the map below.

You can also meet with the organizers at WU right after the sub-plenary sessions, and go there together with us (the exact meeting spot and time at WU will be communicated shortly in advance).

More about Eugene Quinn

Eugene Quinn, urbanist and host of the 2022 SCO Workshop "Ugly Vienna?"

Born in London and based in Vienna, Eugene Quinn is the founder and part of the political culture group Whoosh. He considers himself curious, sceptical, and passionate about public spaces and is constantly experimenting with new ways to animate the city of Vienna. Beyond the Ugly Vienna walking tours, he and the Whoosh group engage in political conversation, social dinners, and new ways of mobilizing a fun and lively ‘street capital’ with their latest research project: the city of Vienna.

More about magdas

The magdas hotel is remarkably different – or especially ‘lässig’ if you want to use a Viennese expression. The social business brings together an international team and embraces people with a refugee background as a vital part of their hotel and business identity. You could argue that the 78 individually designed rooms make this place unique. In the end, however, the variety of people and their life stories compose magdas as something differentsomething especially ‘lässig’.

What is the SCO Workshop

Since 2015, the Space, Creativity and Organizing workshop brings together researchers interested in ways of developing an understanding of space more adequate to the challenge of contemporary organization. It proposes hands-on and experimental activities in the margins of the European Group for Organizational Studies’ annual colloquium to provoke and engage academics to consider alternative methods in which to think and practice space in organization. In 2015, we occupied the cooperative workspace of the Stone Soup organization in Athens to explore the of site-specific creative possibilities of spaces normally used by independent technology professionals. In 2016, we took over an art gallery, the ‘Voyage Pittoresque Factory’ in Naples, to investigate affect’s emergence in the interaction of bodies, technologies and space. In 2017, we took a literary turn and discussed Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 at the Overgaden Institute for Contemporary Art in Copenhagen. In 2018, it is the Estonian museum of architecture in Tallinn that hosted the workshop, as we discovered together the role of smell and scent in organizational life, led by Claus Noppeney. In Edinburgh, in 2019, choreographer Anastasia Kostner invited the audience to explore alternative epistemologies through our senses. While the 2020 edition was cancelled due to the covid-19 pandemic, we hosted an online workshop in 2021, in which Lydia Jørgensen provided a tour of virtual immerse artworks.

Title photo by Quentin Schulz on Unsplash