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Inge Podbrecky

Viennese Jugendstil

Walking & Seeing 4 routes – from Hoffmann to Wagner, from the Postsparkasse to the Secession

Translated by Astrid Nolte Photographs: János Kalmár

Falter Verlag

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Author: Inge Podbrecky Translator: Astrid Nolte Photographer: János Kalmár We wish to thank the following for permission to reprint photos: Raiffeisenlandesbank NÖ-Wien (page 43), Austrian Federal Chancellery (page 49), Dkfm. Zacherl (page 52), Knize & Company (page 59), Postsparkasse (Austrian Postal Savings Bank) (page 63), Museums of the City of Vienna (page 73), Social-Psychiatric Centre Baumgartner Höhe (page 91 below, page 92), Church of the Holy Ghost (pages 95, 96). Readers: Ulrike Hirhager, Helmut Gutbrunner Maps: Marion Großschädl Setting and layout: Reinhard Hackl Production: Susanne Schwameis Printed in Slovenia

ISBN 3-85439-339-3 Copyright 2004 Falter Verlagsgesellschaft m.b.H. 1011 Vienna, Marc-Aurel-Strasse 9 Phone +43-1-536 60-0, Fax +43-1-536 60-35 E-mail/publisher:, e-mail/orders: Home page/bookshop:

This book in no way claims to be exhaustive. Although we have tried to be as thorough as possible, we cannot completely rule out errors. Please understand that we assume no responsibility for content. All rights reserved.

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Foreword | armin thurnher


A few suggestions to begin with | inge podbrecky


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route 1

From the Wiental to the centre

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route 2

Hietzing villas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 71

route 3

Steinhof and Otto Wagner Villas

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route 4

Josef Hoffmann on the Hohe Warte

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 99

Still not enough? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 107 index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

contents | 3

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Foreword “Walking and Seeing” – yet another new series by the Falter publishing house? Will it go far? We’ll see! In any case, it hopes to prompt its readers to go for walks so they can better see. To take city walks. As urban dwellers we’ve grown used to hectic forms of transport out of a necessity to get from one point to another quickly. We usually accomplish this sightlessly, underground, without taking in our surroundings. We get used to the fast pace by seeing less. Perhaps to insulate ourselves from the sensory avalanche of the big city. Perhaps to prevent ourselves from thinking about the unnatural pace of transport. Fast transport distracts the senses; and this distraction can only be met with a numbing of the senses. Or, where it becomes dangerous, such as while driving, with pinpointed and canalised seeing. To make sure that nothing happens. Apparently, our movement through city, country and life has become infected with these modes of transport. We often take the same route without absorbing anything, sunk into ourselves, as though automatically, only waking from our unconscious state when we’ve reached our goal; we’ve let ourselves go. Of course there’s nothing wrong with this, and certainly not with the fine custom of indulging one’s self, of simply meandering. Walter Benjamin once praised being able to get lost in a familiar city as the highest form of art. So where’s the nearest sightseeing attraction? That’s not how these guidebooks were intended; instead they hope to sharpen your eye for a subject by suggesting that you indulge in it and go on its trail. Not a marching route, but more of a meander, an irregular walk through the city, where in addition to viewing the Jugendstil monuments recommended by our knowledgeable author Inge Podbrecky you might find time for other things along the way: a café, a shop, a worthwhile detour. According to the famous slogan of a successful travel guide series, “You only see what you know”. But we would like to add: “You only see when you go”. Enjoy your walk. Armin Thurnher

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A few suggestions to begin with This is another book on turn-of-the-century Viennese architecture – but a completely different one. It takes you on four walks to the most important attractions of the Viennese fin de siècle: to the Secession, to Otto Wagner’s city railway stations, to the bars and shops of Adolf Loos and to the villas of Josef Hoffmann. You no longer need to page through lists of names and addresses and look for them on a map. Together, the choice and order of buildings, architecturalcultural information and map excerpts, as well as walk descriptions, supplementary information and system of directions, create a compact guide, which also points out essential deviations from the topic by recommending diversions of all kinds. The four routes described in this book allow you to proceed at your leisure. You may on the one hand wish to only see those objects highlighted in red, limiting your foray to the absolute highlights of Viennese architecture around 1900. However if you wish to see (and read) as much as possible, you can follow the entire route. Every now and then you will find clues to buildings and institutions not directly linked to the fin de siècle that provide additional insight into the city. Red symbols indicate a broad selection of cultural and culinary stops, with plenty of opportunities to stroll around, rest, shop, eat and drink. Depending on how much time you spend in cafés, bars and restaurants, you may wish to stretch the first route over several days. The routes have been designed in such a way that you can stop at any point along the way. If you only have a short amount of time, you can always stop after the first or second section of each route. In either case, you will have seen major works that can give you an initial impression of turn-of-the-century Viennese architecture. You will find a brief overview and map at the beginning of each route. The first and last points of the routes can be easily and quickly reached using public transportation. We do not recommend going by car, as the route sections often lie close together and you would spend a disproportionate amount of viennese jugendstil | 7

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time and energy looking for parking spaces (usually charged). Aside from this, the 1st district has a large proportion of pedestrian zones. The routes can also be easily followed on bicycle, taking advantage of Vienna’s well-developed network of bike paths. Unfortunately, not all of the building interiors will be accessible, as the entrances to apartment buildings in Vienna are normally locked to non-residents. Public and semi-public buildings can usually be visited without any difficulty – free or for a charge. Opening hours have been listed wherever they deviate from standard business hours. Villas and residential houses are generally private property and can only be viewed from the street. Vienna around 1900: Jugendstil, the Secession and the consequences A brief introduction Jugendstil (also known as Art Nouveau) is one of the biggest international phenomena in the history of art and culture. Until the 60s of the 20th century, this era was disregarded as overly rhapsodic and its products as indulgently ornamental and kitschy. Only when Postmodernism took an interest in the forms of historical epochs – linked to an increasing weariness of post-war Modernism and Pop Art’s playful approach to surrealist and psychedelic motifs – did Jugendstil become fashionable in Europe again. Trade in (at the time still widely available) Jugendstil antiques boomed, and scholars turned their attention to the controversial era around 1900. Carl E. Schorske’s “Fin-de-siècle-Vienna – Politics and Culture” from 1961 (published in German in 1982 and 1994) is still considered one of the fundamental studies on the topic. Numerous Italian scholars also showed an enthusiasm for turn-of-thecentury Viennese art in connection with the Central European idea. In Vienna itself, the large 1985 exhibition entitled “Dream and Reality, Vienna 1870 to 1930” paved the way for a broad Jugendstil revival. The commercial exploitation of products by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele soon followed – and to this day obstructs our view of this art, whose diversity mirrored the period of upheaval preceding the First World War. 8 | viennese jugendstil

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Jugendstil in Germany, Secession in Vienna, Art Nouveau in France and Belgium, Modern Style in Great Britain and the USA, Stile Liberty in Italy, Modernisme in Catalonia – all of these terms understood themselves as a rejection of the traditional forms employed by the Historicism of the so-called Gründerzeit (“period of promoterism” or industrial expansion during the final thirty years of the 19th century, whose architecture borrowed from styles of the past) to transform the major cities of Europe into industrial metropolises. Jugendstil was supposed to be a new, unused, never-beforeseen language of form, a long-awaited New Style that would represent much-needed changes in society. Its ideological background varied depending on the political context. In Catalonia, Modernisme became the style of a strengthened national movement. To the bourgeoisie it represented a step away from the centralised state and an opening to Europe. In Vienna, the dreamy aesthetics of the Vienna Secession movement and the withdrawal into an ideal and individual realm of art expressed the younger generation’s disenchantment with the sober liberalism of their fathers – at a time when national tensions, new political movements and anti-Semitism were shaking the Austro-Hungarian multiethnic state. The many local varieties of Jugendstil, which are the subject of only few comparative studies, nevertheless share some basic traits. Around 1900, both traditional and new materials, such as reinforced concrete, were used experimentally and combined in new ways (good examples of this are Otto Wagner’s Vienna Stadtbahn or city railway stations at Karlsplatz with their iron frame and hung stone slabs, or the tiled façades of Wagner and Max Fabiani). Windows, doors, balconies and other architectural details were also designed in new, sometimes quite eccentric forms with the help of new technologies. The décor is curvilinear, sometimes asymmetrical, and often copies natural shapes, stylising them as surface ornamentation or producing new variations on traditional local decorative forms (as Otto Wagner did when he combined floral décor with models from Viennese architecture around 1800 to create his flat, sometimes layered slab, disc and pipe motifs). viennese jugendstil | 9

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A second variant based on British ideas (Glasgow School of Art), which became popular in Vienna after the turn of the century, preferred geometric motifs in varying combinations. Folk art and the highly esteemed art of East Asia, especially that of Japan, were also sources of inspiration at the time. But this didn’t just apply to décor. An entire building could be structured in plastic, three-dimensional shapes – or as a strict, imposing monolith delimited by planed surfaces. Surface, texture, colour and material variety was of great importance. Surfaces were designed with the use of various plasters, colourful ceramics and majolica, sculptural elements, murals and decorative wrought iron. Handicraft experienced a revival, while modern technologies enabled the serial production of building and construction elements. It was not just about creating a new style, but also about a charged conflict between tradition and rebellion – not just in art, but in all areas of life. And Jugendstil tried to assemble these in a “Gesamtkunstwerk” (synthesis of the arts) which aimed to create no less than a new human being. Accordingly, Jugendstil penetrated all areas of artistic production and handicraft. In Vienna its inspirations came from a network of avant-garde intellectuals; literature and music, journalism and psychoanalysis were all closely associated with art at this time. The protagonists came from all corners of the Monarchy and for a brief period of time transformed Vienna into an international metropolis – until the First World War and the collapse of the multi-ethnic state. Strictly seen, not everything on the four routes described in Vienna falls within the category of Jugendstil. Much of it goes beyond this style, and some of the architects mentioned, such as Adolf Loos, even became outspoken opponents of the dominant zeitgeist. Otto Wagner and his students, who were instrumental in transforming Vienna into a modern city, also went beyond Jugendstil to lay the foundation of international Modernism. The term Jugendstil best corresponds to the early works of the Secession – an artistic association that formed when a group of young artists broke away from the conservative Künstlerhaus in 1897 and became largely responsible for progressive Viennese art pro10 | viennese jugendstil

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duction until 1905 (when Gustav Klimt and his friends withdrew). The specific Viennese brand of Jugendstil was therefore also named after the Secession. The year 1905 marked the end of the first, highly decorative phase of Viennese Jugendstil. After 1905, shapes became more geometrical and block-like, leading to the specific Viennese, geometrically elegant bourgeois style found in the works of Josef Hoffmann and the Wiener Werkstätte (Vienna Workshops), which would have a strong influence on art and handicraft. Not all Viennese artists were enthusiastic about the particular kind of Secessionist “Gesamtkunstwerk” consisting of painting, sculpture, architecture and craftsmanship, which Josef Hoffmann produced in the countless, elaborately out-fitted villas he designed for a well-paying clientele. Bright and unafraid of conflict, Adolf Loos, who was at once an architect, designer, writer, teacher and culture critic, repeatedly launched extensive polemics against the Secession’s ambition to shape an entire closed living space with lavish handmade decor and accoutrements designed by artists. He pleaded for a return to the functional handicraft tradition of the Biedermeier era and opposed state-subventioned artistic production. He was influenced in his views by the modern Anglo-Saxon lifestyle he had encountered in the United States and in London. He confronted the elaborate materials and designs of the Secessionists with time-tested, simple, practical and dignified objects. The classically functional reductionism of his buildings is sometimes closer to international Modernism. After his beginnings in the Secession, Otto Wagner also turned to more experimental and functional solutions – such as the Stadtbahn (city railway) or the Postsparkasse (Postal Savings Bank) and urbanistic designs for a limitless metropolis, which were based more on Wagner’s own artistic background in the tradition of Schinkel and Semper than on Secessionist ideas. After the First World War, some of Otto Wagner’s students took a more conservative direction, producing Heimatkunst (regional art) and neo-Classicism, which however also had its roots in the illustrious and contradictory period around 1900. Other architects of the next generation viennese jugendstil | 11

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were forced to flee Austria or had already left the country in the 1920s. These students of Otto Wagner’s, such as Ernst Lichtblau and Rudolph M. Schindler, or students of Adolf Loos, such as Felix Augenfeld and Richard Neutra, would become Austria’s link to the international Modernist movement. Some works by architects of this generation created shortly after 1900 but no longer belonging to Jugendstil can also be viewed on the walks.


~ = cafés, bars, popular pubs – = restaurants, local eateries = culture

Û = shopping Dialling codes: +43/1 12 | viennese jugendstil

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route 1

From the Wiental to the centre Starts: U4 Pilgramgasse station Ends: Either U4 Stadtpark station or U3 Rochusgasse station Length: About 7 kilometres (9.8 kilometres if one includes the 3rd district) or about 2 to 3 hours depending on pace and length of stay (not including detours) The route: Otto Wagner Houses at Wiental and Naschmarkt – Secession – Karlsplatz – Burggarten – Loos House at Michaelerplatz – Artaria House at Kohlmarkt – Bognergasse – Otto Wagner’s Länderbank building at Hohenstaufengasse – Hohe Brücke – Anker-Uhr (Anker Clock) at Hoher Markt – Ple`´cnik’s Zacherl House – Loos Bar – Otto Wagner’s Anker House at the Graben and Knize men’s clothing store by Adolf Loos – Stephansplatz – Rotenturmstrasse – Fleischmarkt – Otto Wagner’s Postsparkasse (Postal Savings Bank) – Stadtpark with Wienfluss portal – extension of the walk: Ungargasse to Portois & Fix House by Max Fabiani – Karl Borromäus Fountain – Rochusmarkt With its clear cubic shapes, spare geometric-floral ornamentation and decorative glass and iron canopy, the Pilgramgasse station is one of several buildings you will encounter in one form or another in Vienna. They are all based on a single concept by Otto Wagner who designed them together with a group of over seventy co-workers between 1895 and 1901. By the second half of the 19th century, the city of Vienna had become an international metropolis, accommodating its growth in two major surges of expansion in 1850 and 1890. A modern means of mass transportation had become necessary, and in 1892 the City of Vienna decided to build a city railway – the Stadtbahn Project. At the same time, the Wienfluss (Wien river) – a stream flowing through the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods) that had given the city its name – had to be regulated. It originates west of Vienna in the Wienerwald and flows past Schönbrunn. Originally, it flowed freely over the Karlsplatz to the northeast of the centre and into a branch of the Danube – today the Donaukanal (Danube canal). from the wiental to the centre | 13


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The Wiental has always been an important traffic axis, as it determined the most important western exit route and links the inner city with Schönbrunn Imperial Palace. The Wiental took on additional significance when planners decided to build one of the new Stadtbahn (city railway) lines – today’s U4 underground line – in the bed of the river after its regulation. At the end of the 19th century, the area, which was originally dominated by mills and water-dependent industrial businesses, was transformed into a boulevard called the Wienzeile, along which bourgeois houses were constructed. When Otto Wagner took over the artistic planning and construction of the Stadtbahn in 1894, he was fifty-one years old and a highly successful architect within Austria and abroad. He had presented his vision of a modern city in 1893 as part of an urbanistic construction competition for a general regulation plan for Vienna. At the time it was assumed that the population explosion would continue, based on experiences with the doubling of the city’s population between 1850 and 1870. In his project, Wagner therefore encircled the inner city with concentric traffic rings linked by ray-like axes leading away from the city centre (only one of the planned outer rings, the “Vorortelinie”, today’s S 45, was actually constructed). The year building began on the StadtWhite plaster surfaces, decorative wrought iron: Pilgramgasse station, 1896–98

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The Brücke über die Zeile, built in 1895–98

bahn Otto Wagner became a professor of architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts. During his famous inaugural speech, he proclaimed the motto inspired by his teacher Gottfried Semper that would shape his and his students’ work: “Artis sola domina necessitas” (in Wagner’s own translation: “Art knows only one master – necessity”). The Stadtbahn buildings should therefore mainly be viewed as “construction aids for the flow of movement” (O.A. Graf). Only a small part of Otto Wagner’s radically functional and future-oriented vision – of traffic routes coursing through the body of the city like arteries through which life circulates in the form of human beings in motion – was realised with the building of the Stadtbahn. One of the most impressive buildings along the Stadtbahn line is the so-called ‹ Brücke über die Zeile („Bridge over the Zeile“), which functioned as an overpass for the Gürtel line (today U6) where it crosses the Wiental (bed of the Wienfluss) to meet the U4 (best viewed from the U4 Margaretengürtel station). Wagner’s project director was Joseph Maria Olbrich, who would later build the Secession (‹ page 31). Otto Wagner’s Stadtbahn consisted of four lines covering about forty kilometres of tracks. Three of them still exist today as part of the Vienna U-Bahn network. Because Vienna was built on hilly terrain, individual sections had to be constructed from the wiental to the centre | 17

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underground (open or covered), such as here in the Wiental (U4 line, from Karlsplatz to Hütteldorf-Hacking), while others were elevated on viaducts (U6 – former Gürtel line – from Meidling-Hauptstrasse to Heiligenstadt). The forms of the station types follow these prerequisites; only the Karlsplatz station buildings (‹ page 38) and the Hofpavilion at Schönbrunn Palace (‹ page 72) are special types. The Wiental stations consist of almost square service halls resting on visible iron girders above the tracks and covered stairs descending to the platforms. The form of the station buildings renders their functional structure visible to the exterior. They are also highly noticeable due to their unified but not completely homogeneous design – large, smooth surfaces, unmistakeable decoration consisting of slabs, drops, pipes and stylised plant shapes, as well as their characteristic glass and iron canopies. The Stadtbahn station buildings can therefore be easily spotted within the urban context, inscribing the city with a modern guidance system. Of the Wiental stations, to which the Pilgramgasse station belongs, only two have been nearly completely preserved (Schönbrunn and Stadtpark ‹ page 66). Modern modifications to the U4 line are the result of the expansion of the UBahn network, which began in 1971. The ARGE U-Bahn group (Wilhelm Holzbauer/Heinz Marschalek /Georg Ladstätter/Norbert Gantar) developed a modular panel system The former Vorwärts printing and publishing house with sculptures by Anton Hanak

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with mounted elements and a colour code (U4: green) for the first phase of expansion, which was completed in 1982. Taking just a few steps westwards one can’t help but notice a building with a curious stepped gable – the former headquarters of the Vorwärts printing and publishing house and Austrian Social Democratic Party (Rechte Wienzeile 97). Today it houses the ‹ Bruno Kreisky Archive (Tel. 545 75 35-0) and the ‹ Association for the History of the Labour Movement (Tel. 545 78 70). With the design of this house, Otto Wagner’s Moravian-born students Franz and Hubert Gessner created a building of great symbolic value to the Austrian Social Democratic Party. It was erected between 1907 Roof crown of the Vorwärts building (when the Social Democrats entered Imperial Council as the strongest party) and 1909. It was used as the seat of the Labour Union and editorial offices and printing house of the Arbeiterzeitung (Workers’ Newspaper). The front-facing house was created through the modification of an older construction, while the printing press was a completely new (at the time very advanced) reinforced concrete edifice. What remains of the original construction are the remarkable façade and parts of the interior, including the foyer and library (former party leader meeting room). The four-storey façade was originally more clearly structured through plaster gridding. The top-heavy nature of the house sets an unmistakeable accent in the row of buildings. The upper floor, which is taller than the floors below and has a different rhythm, is interrupted by large bay windows sub-divided into smaller squares. Students of Wagner often used this type of window as a prominent structuring element (see Artaria House ‹ page 45). Above the bay windows we find an outcropping cornice and high stepped gable, unmistakeable due to its conspicuous silhouette, which is crowned with a decorative metal balcony. The clock in the gable was supposed to signalise that “people from the wiental to the centre | 19

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can never rest, if they (…) wish to serve humanity”. The two figures on either side of the roof (male and female worker by Anton Hanak, 1910) give the building an additional note of pathos, typical of the time. The architects Franz and Hubert Gessner had close ties to the Social Democrats. On the façade of the front-facing building they employed several motifs they would further develop in the social housing projects launched under “Red Vienna” starting in 1919. On the opposite side of the Wienfluss you can enjoy a meal at the ‹Café Willendorf in the Rosa Lila Villa, a gay and lesbian centre (Linke Wienzeile 102, Tel. 587 17 89, daily from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; outdoor seating). The district to the north of it is called Magdalenengrund, which was known as the Ratzenstadl (“Ratz” = Viennese dialect for “rat”) until the end of the 19th century because of its small, rundown buildings and poor living conditions. It was completely rebuilt around 1900 at the same time the Wienfluss was regulated. Following the route in the direction of the centre, one can’t help but notice a tall, conspicuous building at the end of a narrow public park – the Rüdigerhof (Hamburgerstrasse 20). The property lies at the end of a small strip of land between the Wiental and the western access route and therefore has the shape of a small triangle, whose tip points westward. Due to its flattened front, the building resembles a tower and sets a special accent here – as if to signal a threshold to the city (which however is not the case). The

The elegant Rüdigerhof houses a café

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apartment building was constructed in 1902 based on a design by architect Oskar Marmorek, who studied with Carl König. He conceived this six-to-seven-storey building and its three façades as a highly plastic solitaire – an atypical concept in turn-of-the-century Vienna when most architects preferred to think in two-dimensional units. The outside is orchestrated with flat, partly coloured décor that remains flush and subordinate to the block. At the same time, its many plaster variations give it a highly original look. The fine, waved plaster at the base could be a playful reference to the Wienfluss. The décor separates the building into three horizontal zones. This division, a reflex-like return to traditional façade structures, is not repeated on the interior of the building where all floors have the same essential structure. The position of the staircase is revealed to the exterior on the Hamburgerstrasse through the displacement of the windows. The side facing the Wienfluss was reconstructed during the most recent restoration of the building. The Rüdigerhof’s projecting, umbrella-like roof overhang was a popular motif in turn-of-the-century Vienna, but also reflected a general contemporary fascination with far An axis of the façade of the Rüdigerhof

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eastern architecture (as in the works of Frank Lloyd Wright). It not only gives the building a characteristic silhouette, but creates space for decorations visible from street level. A terrace juts out below the smallest façade and serves as the entrance to a café, whose semi-circular pavilion functions as a reading room. We highly recommend visiting the ‹ Café Rüdigerhof (Tel. 586 31 88, open daily from 10 a.m. to 2 a.m.; chess; backgammon, TV; outdoor seating overlooking the spot where the U-Bahn disappears underground) because much of the original interior has been preserved. At the time, the café was often frequented by officials from the nearby Social Democratic Party headquarters. Oskar Marmorek was an enthusiastic and active Zionist and friend and companion to author Theodor Herzl. The character of Steineck, the architect in Herzl’s novel “Altneuland” (“Oldnewland”), was supposedly modelled after Marmorek. Directly around the corner at Steggasse 1 stands the Langer Tenement House, which is interesting for several reasons. It was designed in the years 1901 and 1902 by one of Otto Wagner’s most important students and co-workers. Born in Ljubljana (Laibach in German), Jo`´ze Ple`´cnik conceived this building, which rests on the slightly ascending foundation, as two six-storey blocks of varying height turned in toward each other (the structure is suggested on the interior by the almost symmetrically structured space, though there is only one staircase). The shape of the house is largely determined by a grid-like, alternating rhythm between wall and opening. The filigree balconies that wrap around the corners act like clamps holding the two blocks together (corner balconies were to become a beloved motif of classic Modernity). The first layer of façades creates the vertical elements that extend up between the windows to the roof, emphasising the height of the two blocks. All storeys have the same height; the façade is a variation on the 1888 tenement house at Universitätsstrasse 12 in Vienna’s 1st district (Hosenträgerhaus, “Braces house”), in which Otto Wagner rejected the classic palace scheme design. (In the 19th century, the façades of apartment buildings were usually separated into three zones: base, “Beletage” and upper floors. The so-called Beletage was the most comfortably accessible main floor and harboured the most beautiful 22 | from the wiental to the centre

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Almost a high-rise: the Langer Tenement House of 1901

and expensive apartments; the landlord usually resided here. On the exterior, this lower zone was also the most elaborately structured. Further upward lay smaller and cheaper apartments. With the invention of the lift, however, the bothersome climb to the top floors was eliminated and all apartments became equally easy to rent. This made an external representation of the old hierarchy superfluous.) The grid of Ple`´cnik’s blocks would continue upwards, were it not interrupted by the cornice. The two tower blocks therefore seem like potential high-rises, and indeed Otto Wagner and his students experimented with such constructively determined structures (however the first real high-rise was built in Vienna in the early 1930s). The building in Steggasse proves how strongly Otto Wagner’s students were influenced by his maxim “need, purpose, structure and sense of beauty” as a foundation of modern architecture – and to what extent it had departed from the pluralistic style of the Gründerzeit as well as that of the Secession. As one of Wagner’s most illustrious students, a Slovene, a Catholic, and “at the same time revolutionfrom the wiental to the centre | 23

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ary and reactionary” (M. Pozzetto), Ple`´cnik would later go to Prague to create a Slavic national style for President Masaryk and teach in his hometown of Ljubljana, which he also shaped with his architecture. Two of his earlier works, the Zacherl House (‹ page 52) and the Heiliggeistkirche (Church of the Holy Ghost) (‹ page 95), are among the top achievements of turn-of-the-century European architecture. A ‹ flea market takes place every Saturday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the grounds covering the Wienfluss, which serve as a parking lot during the week. At Linke Wienzeile 48–52 we find another house by Franz and Hubert Gessner, built for an accident insurance company between 1910 and 1912. Its monumentally shaped, rounded-off corner, elaborate façades and décor (sculptures by Anton Hanak, stained glass windows by Leopold Forstner) are a reminder that the Wienzeile’s status greatly increased during the Wienfluss regulation and construction of the Stadtbahn, and that it had been intended as a representative boulevard leading to Schönbrunn. From this point onward, heading toward the centre, the Linke Wienzeile offers a kind of architectural exhibition of turn-of-the-century achievements. In a side street (Joanelligasse), at number 3, you’ll find the Asian restaurant ‹ Kiang Noodles, which we recommend for its unusual noodle specialities and unconventional interior décor (Tel. 586 87 96, Mon to Sat 6 p.m. to midnight). A typical underground station on the Wiental line: Kettenbrückengasse, 1896–98

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Decorative details from inside the Kettenbrückengasse station building

The Kettenbrückengasse station is of the same type as the one at Pilgramgasse (‹ page 13). Nearby, at Kettenbrückengasse 6, one can visit ‹ the apartment where Franz Schubert died (Tues to Sun 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.). The apartment that belonged to Schubert’s brother and the room in which the composer died were re-furnished in a poetic and unsentimental way by the architect Elsa Prochazka in 1992, along with other memorials to Viennese musicians. Across from the station lies the so-called ‹ Marktamt or market authority building of the Naschmarkt (‹ page 29) built in 1915/16 according to a design by Friedrich Jaeckel. A relief by Franz Barwig adorns the gable of the front side. On the Linke Wienzeile (No. 40, No. 38 = Köstlergasse 1 and around the corner at Köstlergasse 3) lies a group of buildings that has taken on symbolic meaning for turn-of-the-century Viennese architecture: the “Wienzeile Houses” built by Otto Wagner in 1898/99, where Wagner acted as architect, client and entrepreneur. Much the bourgeois and liberal-minded businessman, Wagner always managed to sell his houses for a profit (an ‹ Otto Wagner Archive was set up in his still partly intact apartment in his final house and residence at Döblergasse 2–4 in the 7th district in 1985). – Wagner also employed his students as designers on this corner plot to the future Wienzeile boulevard. It was common for the students to design a “typical apartment house” during their first year of studies in order to from the wiental to the centre | 25

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Otto Wagner’s famous Wienzeile Houses built in 1898/99

become “versed in the construction and perception of needs”. Even viewed from a distance, the buildings are distinguished by their unusual, elaborate façades, while neighbouring houses feature plaster rendering. Just two flat planes in the street front, Wagner’s two façades are connected through two interlocking structuring systems: the consistent rhythm of the windows and the flowing or hanging ornamentation, which, contrary to the customs of the 19th century, grows more dense towards the roof, evoking the impression that it dangles from the projecting cornice. This new interpretation of the façade is an important characteristic of these buildings. Its symbolic function as a panel-shaped or quasi-textile element (enhanced by the flowered décor on the “Majolikahaus” and the hanging appliqués in the golden ornamentation of the neighbouring building) anticipates the nonload-bearing curtain wall façades of Modernism. Another characteristic was the choice of radically new materials. In addition to withstanding urban pollution (hygiene was an important element in Wagner’s concept of Modernity), the glazed tiles could be designed in various colours. The importance of colour in architecture was a central theme in the architectural debate surrounding Historicism. Even as a young man – while studying in Berlin with an assistant to Karl Friedrich Schinkel and in Vienna with August Siccard von Siccardsburg and Eduard van der Nüll – Otto Wagner supported the use of colour in construction. 26 | from the wiental to the centre

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The type of decoration corresponds to the early work of the Secession (‹ page 31), a group of artists founded in 1897, which opposed what they considered the out-dated forms of Historicism by creating a new canon of forms shaped by western European influences. The terms “Secession” and “Secessionist” stand for the Viennese variety of Jugendstil, which could be found throughout Europe at the time and was called Art Nouveau in France, Stile Liberty in Italy and Modernisme in Catalonia. – The ornamental Secessionist style flowed into the Wienzeile Houses through Otto Wagner’s students and co-workers, who took part in The reliefs on house number 38 were designed by Kolo the design and were instrumental Moser in carrying on the work of the rebelling artist’s association (Gustav Rossmann, Alois Ludwig, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Jo`´ze Ple`´cnik). The “Majolikahaus” (“Majolica house”) features two receding window axis on both sides, ending below the main cornice and decorated with dark tiles. This emphasises the bright central surfaces of the buildings and heightens their effect. The cladding of the façade with its broad floral ornamentation was designed by Alois Ludwig and produced according to a Floral décor on the work drawing in a 1:1 scale by the “Majolikahaus” Wienerberger company, a traditional brick and ceramics manufacturer still producing today. – The lower floors of the houses were linked by an anterior iron and glass construction marking the office and shop zone. The Köstlergasse corner of the house boasts an from the wiental to the centre | 27

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especially decorative design. It acts as a rounded-off joint between the façade walls and ends in an exquisite pavilion. The adjoining façades are defined as separate surfaces through their pillar-like edges crowned with statues (“Ruferinnen”, women calling, by Othmar Schimkowitz). The edges are connected by a receding wall that rises behind the corner pavilion. Such visible, characteristic silhouettes were important to Otto Wagner. On the interior, the elaborate set-off corner solution corresponds with a diagonal axis extending from the building’s edge to an oval staircase in the inner courtyard. The semi-public zone has been very carefully designed in both houses, and the stairs have been so comfortably constructed that one has the impression to float up or down on them. The gilded medallion reliefs on the façade were designed by Koloman Moser; the gate to Köstlergasse 1 was designed by Jo`´ze Ple`´cnik. The buildings on the Wienzeile belong to Otto Wagner’s major works and mark a strong tension between modernity and tradition. The façade solutions were groundbreaking, while the interior plan remained close to older, Gründerzeit models. The house at Linke Wienzeile 42 was built just one year earlier and serves as a perfect example of the kind of architectural style Otto Wagner was fighting against. In spite of the rebellion around 1900, Historicism continued until the First World War, while nevertheless incorporating some ideas from the Secession and Wagner’s school. Somewhat further toward the centre, at number 36, one can take a break at the plush ‹ Café Savoy (Tel. 586 73 48, Mon to Fri 5 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sat 9 a.m. to 2 a.m., holidays 8 p.m. to 2 p.m., closed Sun, outdoor seating).

One of Othmar Schinkowitz's “Ruferinnen”, Linke Wienzeile 38

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The Otto Wagner Houses are situated directly across from the Naschmarkt (Mon to Fri 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., Sat 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.; in addition to the market, a manifold culinary scene has been established here, Mon to Sat 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.). The market has existed since 1774 and moved here from its original location at the edge of Karlsplatz when the regulation of the Wienfluss was completed. Based on a city building authority plan, it hosts two to three parallel rows of market stands that form two market streets, the ends of which are marked by free-standing pavilions. The original construction has been partly preserved; in addition to the market stands, this includes the water and toilet facilities, as well as the local eatery ‹“Zur Eisernen Zeit” at Linke Wienzeile 14, whose name refers to the period of the First World War (Tel. 587 03 01, Mon to Sat 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; outdoor seating). The baroque Saint Rosalia chapel marks the beginning of the second market section. It originates from the so-called “Starhembergsches Freihaus”, a large tenement building that no longer exists, named “Freihaus” because it offered its residents exemption from municipal jurisdiction. However, the term “Freihaus” is still in use where the building once stood, lending its name to the lively and diverse district of pubs, galleries and shops that has grown up around Schleifmühlgasse. We recommend: ‹ Acht ein Halb, No. 20 (Tel. 585 63 23, Mon to Fri 10 a.m. to midnight, Sat 12 p.m. to midnight), across the street the ‹ Café Anzengruber, No. 19 (Tel. 587 82 97, Mon to Sat 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.; billiards, chess, TV, outdoor seating) and no. 17 ‹ Babette’s, the phenomenal cookbook shop with a test kitchen ( Delicious Chinese food awaits you at ‹ Shanghai (Margaretenstrasse 11, Tel. 587 13 10, Mon to Sat and holidays, 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.). One of the best video stores in the city, ‹ Alphaville (speciality: videos in original version; Mon to Sat, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sun 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.), is located at number 5 in one of two very elegant buildings designed by Ernst Epstein in 1910/11. Contemporary art can be found in the ‹ Georg Kargl Gallery at house number 5 and in the ‹ Kerstin Engholm (No. 3) and ‹Christine König (No. 1a) galleries. You can browse for fashion across the street at house from the wiental to the centre | 29



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The Naschmarkt Marktamt and Otto Wagner Houses

Û number 4 at ~


‹ Jutta Pregenzer and buy luxuriant flowers at ‹ Blumenkraft ( The presence of the Naschmarkt has also livened up the other side of the Wienzeile, where many pubs and cafés have opened. Here, we recommend visiting ‹ Café Drechsler (Linke Wienzeile 22, Tel. 587 85 80, Mon to Fri 3 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sat 3 a.m. to 6 p.m., billards, outdoor seating), a popular hangout among market people and night owls. At Linke Wienzeile 6 one finds the ‹ Theater an der Wien, which was built in 1800. It was commissioned by Emanuel Schikaneder, the author of the libretto to Mozart’s “Magic Flute”, and has been modified several times since. The old façade with its “Papageno gate” can be viewed around the corner (Millöckergasse 1). – Not far from it at Lehárgasse 9–11, lies a building by Wagner’s student Max Fabiani from 1911/12. The omega-shaped lot, which was difficult to build on, has a deep interior courtyard separated from the street by a small pavilion. Fabiani, who always disdained fashionable escapades, employed a strict neo-Baroque style and related the building in a complicated way to the ‹ Hofkulissendepot by Gottfried Semper (Lehárgasse 6–8, 1873; beautiful interior courtyard) lying opposite. Today the latter houses ateliers of the Fine Arts Academy. We recommend viewing the interior courtyard where events are occasionally held. Behind the Hofkulissendepot you’ll find another beautiful café, the ‹ Sperl (Gumpendorfer Strasse 11, Tel. 586 41 58, Mon to Sat 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., Sun and holidays 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; outdoor seating, billiards), which was frequented by artists around

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1900. At the corner of Millöckergasse and Linke Wienzeile 4, one can enjoy ‹ Piccini, the oldest Italian gourmet food shop in Vienna. The storefront consisting of white glass panels was designed by Otto Prutscher in 1934. In 1996 a small food bar opened next door (‹ Piccini Piccolo Gourmet, Tel. 587 52 54, Mon to Fri 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Sat 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., closed in August, outdoor seating). At the very first house on the Linke Wienzeile (No. 2, Getreidemarkt 1) wine lovers can enjoy a fine selection from all over the world at the ‹ Wein & Co wine bar (chain stores all over Vienna; here Mon to Fri 10 a.m. to midnight, Sat 9 a.m. to midnight, Sun 11 a.m. to midnight, Tel. 585 72 57). In blinding white, nearly windowless and topped with an extravagant golden dome of laurel leaves, at the edge of Karlsplatz (Friedrichstrasse 12) lies the Secession, the building which housed the artist’s association and exhibitions whose activities were of essential importance to the production of art and architecture in Vienna around the turn of the century, and beyond that for the general intellectual and artistic climate of Vienna (Tel. 587 53 01,, Tues to Sun 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thurs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.). In the year 1897 a group of progressive young artists, including Gustav Klimt, Josef Hoffmann, Josef Maria Olbrich and Kolo Moser, left the conservative Künstlerhaus (today still at Karlsplatz 5 within view of the Secession) and founded the “Association of Visual Artists Secession”. The term “Secession” refers to the Roman secessio plebis and the revolu-


“To the Age its Art, to Art its Freedom”: the Secession, a symbol of artistic upheaval around 1900

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Viennese Jugendstil  

Leseprobe: Walking, seeing & enjoying. 5 routes – from Hoffmann to Wagner, from the Postsparkasse to the Secession

Viennese Jugendstil  

Leseprobe: Walking, seeing & enjoying. 5 routes – from Hoffmann to Wagner, from the Postsparkasse to the Secession

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