The water of Danube
There are just a few things that could influence Austrian capital in a similar way as the river. Historically, the city was located alongside the great European watercourse which kept the neighbouring grounds fertile but also became an inevitable threat to the expanding city. For centuries, Vienna was expanding towards the South and West, merely touching the river. Until the 19th century when the city government had the will and technical knowledge on the flow regulation of the Danube, it was causing flooding and damage on a yearly basis. The most noticeable disaster happened in 1501 when flood wave brought 14,000 m3 of water per second which became a top criterion for new water protection system designed over 400 years later. The Great Danube Regulation came at a huge cost, a process that started in 1850 took its current shape only in 1970. Consequently, the river was divided. Today’s Alte Donau is an artificial water basin that used to be a major river bend. The river was split in two, forming a reservoir on the northern side — Neue Donau and the actual river bed on the South — Donau. Part of the land which lies between those two is a 21.1 km long, artificial island — the Donauinsel. The peculiar conditions of the water on both sides of the strip became a framework for the project.