Above/featured: Facing east, a U4 train departs Hietzing station to terminus Heiligenstadt.
Along Vienna’s U4 metro line, a dark-domed white cube-like structure seems to float over the tracks between Schönbrunn and Hietzing stations. Most may not realize the building’s relevance to the history of the city’s first railway, the city’s rapid urban evolution into the 20th-century, and the railway architect’s eventual “break away” transition from historicism to modernism.
Vienna was going to look very different after 1890. The city undertook its second and greatest expansion, absorbing 6 outer districts and ballooning the total population to almost 1.4 million (almost doubled in 10 years). The city’s administration recognized the challenge of efficiently transporting people between its new outer suburbs and the inner city. In 1894, Vienna appointed architect Otto Wagner with the complete design and construction of the new Wiener Stadtbahn metropolitan railway. The railway saw the creation of four new lines: the Danube canal line (Donaukanallinie), the “Belt” line (Gürtellinie), the suburb line (Vorortlinie), and the Vienna river valley line (Wientallinie). Today, the city’s U-Bahn U4 and U6 lines and the S-Bahn S45 line operate electrified over much of the original routing.
The Vienna valley line brought track and construction in front of Schönbrunn, the imperial summer palace for the ruling Habsburgs. The rail line’s new Schönbrunn station was located at the northeast corner of the palace grounds. But at the grounds’ northwest corner, Wagner created two stations: one for the public, and one for the Habsburgs. Built for the inauguration of the city railway on 1 June 1898, the imperial pavilion was set aside for the emperor, family, and staff. Emperor Franz Josef I only used the pavilion twice, as he was reluctant (hostile) to accept rapid changes brought by modernity.
Wagner created a domed-building whose interior was furnished with floral and vegetal elements in the Jugendstil (Art Nouveau) style, a painting with a bird’s eye view of the city over Schönbrunn, a private suite for the emperor; and whose exterior included the uniform green and white colours seen throughout the entire rail network, glass and wrought-iron elements, and a separate portal providing a covered entrance for the imperials. Out of the many station buildings Wagner designed for the entire system, the imperial pavilion at Hietzing is most associated with the “historical” architectural style. The building is now a part of the city’s Wien Museum after successful post-war efforts to save and restore the structure.
The informal name is the “Hofpavillon Hietzing” (Imperial Court Pavilion Hietzing), but the building’s formal name is “Pavillon des kaiserlichen und königlichen Allerhöchsten Hofes” (Pavilion of the Imperial and Royal Highest Court). In the images below are divided sections: “exterior”, “interior”, and “sketches”.
Directions & hours
About 150 metres east from Hietzing station, the Imperial Court Pavilion next to Schönbrunner Schloßstraße is located opposite the Engelstor (Angel Gate) at the northwest corner of Schönbrunner Schlosspark.
Public transport to train station “Hietzing”, with Wiener Linien:
• U-Bahn U4 train (fastest mode);
• Tram 10 or 60;
• Bus 51A, 56A, 56B, 58A, or 58B.
The pavilion interior is open (with admission charge) on weekends from April to October with hours 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 6pm.
• Kortz, Paul, Wien am Anfang des XX. Jahrhunderts, 1. Band (Wien: Gerlach & Wiedling, 1905).
• Parsons, Nicholas, Vienna: A Cultural History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009).
• Sarnitz, August, Otto Wagner 1841–1918: Forerunner of Modern Architecture (Köln: Taschen, 2005).
• Schorske, Carl E., Fin-de-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture (New York: Alfred E. Knopf, Inc., 1980).
• Smith, Duncan J.D., Only In Vienna: Guide to Unique Locations, Hidden Corners and Unusual Objects, 4th edition (The Urban Explorer, 2015).
• Wagner, Otto; Einige Skizzen, Projecte, und ausgeführte Bauwerke, 2. Band (Wien: Kunstverlag Ant. Schroll v. Comp., 1897).
My visits to Hofpavillon Hietzing were neither requested nor sponsored. I made all photos above with a Fujifilm X70 fixed-lens prime on 15 May and 29 May 2022. This post appears on Fotoeins Fotografie at fotoeins DOT com as https://wp.me/p1BIdT-gpg.