Featured: On the Linke Wienzeile, opposite the Naschmarkt at right – 18 May 2018 (6D1).
What: The Post Savings Bank building and Steinhof church, by Otto Wagner.
Why: These two are the most important architectural examples of 20th-century modernism.
Where: Throughout the city of Vienna.
To visit Vienna is to know Otto Wagner. A first-time visitor to the city will be forgiven for not knowing about Wagner or his creations, but throughout their time spent in the Austrian capital, they’ll encounter Wagner’s early 20th-century “Modern Architecture”
Vienna is for many the city of Beethoven, Mozart, and Strauss; the city of historic and stylish cafés with coffee and Sacher Torte; the city whose pride is revealed in the combined World Heritage Site that are the classic period architecture within the Old Town and the beautiful palace and gardens at Schönbrunn. Flowing through the city is the Danube river, memorialized in Johann Strauss II’s “An der schönen blauen Donau” (The Blue Danube).
The evolution of architectural style is plainly evident throughout the city. Around the Ringstrasse (inner ring road) is architecture in the Historicism style, with big nods to Neoclassicism in the Parliament, Neo-Gothic in City Hall and the Votivkirche, and a lot of Neo-Renaissance represented by the City Theatre, Art History Museum, Natural History Museum, Opera House, and the University.
But as calendars flipped from 1899 to 1900, the fin-du-siècle heralded a move to bold thinking, different style, and a change in the way and reasons why buildings were put together. Consequently, Vienna is a city of 20th-century modernism whose traces are found in art, architecture, and urban planning. Even with post-war reconstruction in the mid-20th century and a mindful push for environmental rigour in the 21st-century, Vienna still remains in many ways Otto Wagner’s city.
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Previously, I provided short biographies for artist Gustav Klimt, artist and designer Koloman Moser, and architect Otto Wagner, and why they are important figures to the arts and culture scene in early 20th-century Vienna. These three figures are buried in Hietzing Cemetery in the 13th district of Hietzing at the city’s western periphery.
Located to the southwest of the former imperial summer residence Schönbrunner Schlosspark, Hietzing Cemetery is modest in size with an area of over 9.7 hectares (24 acres) and containing over 11-thousand graves. With the present site inaugurated in 1787, the cemetery has seen several expansion phases and survived damage from the Second World War.
It’s an easy ride on the city’s U4 subway, formerly Otto Wagner’s municipal railway (Wiener Stadtbahn), to one of its stations at Hietzing. From Hietzing station, it’s a quick hop on a bus to the cemetery’s main gate.
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