VIENNESE ART NOUVEAU – THE GLORY OF THE BOURGEOISIE
VIENNESE ART NOUVEAU ARCHITECTURE FROM AROUND 1900 IS FAMOUS WORLDWIDE. THE PRIMARY REPRESENTATIVE OF THIS ARCHITECTURAL STYLE IS OTTO WAGNER
Who, as a professor at the Vienna Academy of Art, trained and influenced a whole generation of well-known architects.
Among many others were Josef Maria Olbrich (Secession Building, Vienna/Austria), Max Fabiani (Urania Building, Vienna/Austria) and Josef Hoffmann (Founder of Wiener Werkstatte, Vienna/Austria and architect of Palais Stoclet, Brussels/Belgium) Wagner’s students. Otherwise Jan Kotera (Prague/Czech Republic), Joze Plecnik (Ljubljana/Slovenia) and Viktor Kovacic (Zagreb/Croatia) became founders of modern architecture in their countries.
The first office building in the World
Visiting Vienna without having visited Otto Wagner’s Postal Savings Bank Building is like not having been in Vienna at all. The Postal Savings Bank Building with its impressive construction of glass and steel is one of the most important monuments of modern architecture. From the overall design down to the smallest detail, everything in this building is subordinate to a successful synthesis of aesthetics and functionality.
Through the glass ceiling natural light pours into the Main Banking Hall and due to the glass tiles on the floor even reaches the floors beneath the main hall. The Postal Savings Bank’s office spaces were the first ever interior spaces to be divided by non-load-bearing walls. Still today this feature is standard in the interior design of office buildings. Today, the Postal Savings Bank Building houses the Otto Wagner Museum.
Karlsplatz Metro Station
As an urban planner in Vienna, Otto Wagner also created the concept for the stations of the Vienna Stadtbahn. These stations are still used as parts of the subway lines U4 and U6. In Wagner’s former station on Karlsplatz there now stands a small, but worthwhile exhibition space that features works by the architect.
Majolica House – Viennese Art Nouveau
On the way to the Majolika Haus and other houses that Otto Wagner built on the left Wienzeile, you will encounter the building of the Vienna Secession, which was built by Wagner’s student Joseph Maria Olbrich. The golden laurel leaf dome is located directly over the exhibition rooms of this Viennese Art Nouveau building. The Secession was the movement by fine artists and architects that through Art Nouveau wanted to break new ground beyond the stylistic imitations of the RingstraBe era.
Otto Wagner’s so-called Wienzeile Houses on the left Wienzeile are an ensemble of three apartment buildings. They were built between 1898 and 1899. The Majolika Haus at Wienzeile 40 was named after its facade, which is covered with ceramic tiles made with the tin-glaze technique Majolica. The apartment building located at Wienzeile 38 is famous for its spectacular corner construction in form of a quarter-circle. The golden medallion ornamentation is by Koloman Moser4 . The sculptures of the Ruferinnen that adorn the rooftop were created by Othmar Schimkowitz5 . These two artists also participated in Otto Wagner’s Kirche am Steinhof, the first church building of Modernity.
A train station built exclusively for only one passenger.
Further in direction of Schonbrunn Castle, at the exit of the U4 station Hietzing, you can admire another of Otto Wagner’s works: The Hofpavillion Hietzing. It was a train station built exclusively for only one passenger -Emperor Franz Joseph I. However, the emperor only waited for the train there twice.
Almost all of the important Viennese Art Nouveau buildings are located along the subway line U4.