The VIENNA PROJECT at Harvard University is a scholarly and artistic collaboration that explores Vienna at the turn of the last century through the lens of home and homemaking. 

At its center stands the production of an historical documentary film titled The Burning Child. Investigating the Viennese interior - as both architecture and subjectivity - the film captures utopias of home amidst the creative dynamism of an ancient imperial city in the process of rapid modernization. 

Devised and directed by Joseph Leo Koerner, Victor S. Thomas Professor of History of Art and Architecture at Harvard, the Vienna Project is funded by a grant by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

Experience / Erleben

  • "People’s living styles are every day becoming more alike."

    Otto Wagner / Modern Architecture / 1894

  • "The uncanny is that which was once homelike, familiar."

    Sigmund Freud / The Uncanny / 1919

  • "A proof is not its foundations plus the rules of inference but a new house.”

    Ludwig Wittgenstein / Foundation of Mathematics / 1938

  • “What did he have to guard? The tomb? The memory? History itself?”

    Joseph Roth / The Emperor's Tomb / 1938

DREAM / Träumen

View the animated short created by Oscar-nominated animator Tim Reckart of the Dream of The Burning Child as retold by Sigmund Freud in his seminal Interpretation of Dreams (1900).

SEE / Sehen

Watch videos of lectures and visual essays by Joseph Leo Koerner on the Vienna Interior, the Tummelplatz and the Family Portrait.

LISTEN / Hören

Listen to a recording of Austrian tenor Richard Tauber (1891-1948) singing "O Freund, ich werde sie nicht wiedersehen" from Erich Wolfgang Korngold's Viennese opera Die tote Stadt (1920) visually accompanied by photographs of a war-torn Vienna in 1946 by Henry Koerner (1915-1991).