Otto Wagner (1841-1918) is one of the most significant architects of the turn of the twentieth century. His building projects—among them the City Railway (Wiener Stadtbahn), the Postal Savings Bank (Postsparkasse), and the Church at Steinhof—are regarded as milestones on the path from historicism to modernism.
Wagner was a visionary. He recognized that a historicist architecture fixated on the past stood in contradiction to the political, economic, and social dynamics of his time. As a response, he designed a radiant and rational architecture of the future, one that rested on the relationship between function, structure, and novel building materials. Wagner’s radical designs represented a clear break from the past for advocates of modernism but were viewed by defenders of tradition as sheer provocation. For this reason, many of Wagner’s projects remained unrealized, including his plan for the City Museum on Karlsplatz. The current Wien Museum building was later erected on the same site.
The Wien Museum’s comprehensive jubilee exhibition in 2018 coincides with the one-hundredth anniversary of Wagner’s death, and is the first major exhibition dedicated to this titan of urban architecture in over fifty years. The exhibition locates Wagner’s oeuvre in relation to his companions and opponents, illuminates his artistic, cultural and political environment, and conveys a sense of his international appeal. Exquisite drawings, models, furniture, paintings, and personal belongings vividly relate the story of Wagner’s prodigious career. Most of these objects are from Wagner’s estate, one of the treasures of the Wien Museum’s collection. Several objects will be on view to the public for the first time—an invitation to rediscover this great architect anew.
The exhibition is accompanied by a richly illustrated publication of 544 pages. In addition to numerous contributions by renowned authors, it contains the first complete inventory of all buildings, projects and designs by Otto Wagner.
Otto Wagner Pavillon Karlsplatz
Vienna’s largest infrastructure project around 1900 was the Stadtbahn (light urban railway ), for which Otto Wagner served as artistic director. In 1898 he completed two identical portal buildings for the station at Karlsplatz. Today, the western pavilion houses a compact Wien Museum exhibition on Wagner’s life and work.
Opening times 2018:
March 15 to October 31, Tuesday to Sunday and public holidays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Otto Wagner Hofpavillon Hietzing
For the Hietzing subway station, Otto Wagner designed a pavilion exclusively for Emperor Franz Joseph I and his innermost circle of family and courtiers. Completed in 1899, the building has an unmistakable, representative exterior and an exquisite art nouveau interior.
Opening times 2018:
March 17 to October 31, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.
A paid ticket to the Otto Wagner exhibit is also good for entry at both Wien Museum Wagner pavilions!