Vienna, Modern

Belvedere 21

Mobile Modernism. Yes, buildings can travel, as the glass and steel Belvedere 21 proves. This former exhibition pavilion was created for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. In the early 1960s, the awardwinning structure was dismantled and then reassembled in Vienna. The visionary design was the brainchild of the influential Viennese architect Karl Schwanzer (creator of the BMW HQ in Munich). The interior is particularly interesting: Belvedere 21 is one of the most important centers of contemporary art in the city.

Go for a drink in the new Lucy Bar on the ground floor of Belvedere 21.

Wotruba Church

The epitome of brutalism. Want to explore Vienna’s most unusual church? The Church of the Most Holy Trinity in the 23rd district is one of Austria’s most seminal brutalist works. It was completed in the mid- 1970s according to designs by the Austrian sculptor Fritz Wotruba – who preferred stacking to plastering. The resulting church comprises 152 artistically arranged concrete blocks that rise into the heavens like a sculpture.

Stop off at the Zahel wine tavern on Maurer Hauptplatz on the way back for a glass of wine.


Functionality first. Want to see works by great architects such as Adolf Loos, Richard Neutra, Josef Frank and Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky in a showcase of compact housing design? The Werkbundsiedlung in the 13th district is a real insider tip for architecture fans. Created in the late 1920s, the development showcases all the facets of early modernist design. It was designed as a show home development to promote a new form of living in small, yet exceptionally functional housing. In all, there are 64 remarkable buildings by 34 architects to discover.

Take a stroll in the nearby Roter Berg recreation area and enjoy the beautiful views out over the west of Vienna.


Fantastic forms. Sloping floors, slanted walls and trees growing out of the facade? Sounds like a real fixer-upper, but we are in fact talking about the Hundertwasserhaus. This social housing development was completed by the artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser in 1985, as the architectural embodiment of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. Hundertwasser’s main source of inspiration? Nature – which famously eschews straight lines and right angles.

Discover more Hundertwasser: the nearby Kunst Haus Wien hosts regular photo exhibitions and a permanent Hundertwasser show.

DC Tower

Jagged design. Completed in 2014, the DC Tower soars 250 meters above ground, making this striking building the tallest high-rise in Austria. It was designed by French architect Dominique Perrault, who created this “edgy” skyscraper – with its folded facade reminiscent of a darkly glinting precious stone. It’s a real eye-catcher and, above all, a striking symbol for contemporary Vienna.

Enjoy culinary flights of fancy and panoramic views in the 57 Restaurant & Lounge.

Campus WU

Eccentric ensemble. Anyone with a weakness for contemporary architecture will not be able to resist falling in love with the Vienna University of Economics and Business campus, which was completed in 2013. A group of international star architects including Zaha Hadid designed an impressive collection of buildings next to the Prater park. Walking round the ninehectare campus, you could be forgiven for thinking that the rules of gravity no longer apply here. An eccentric ensemble awaits – a coalescence of different shapes, colors and materials.

A look inside Zaha Hadid’s library building leaves you feeling like you are in a spaceship.


Monumental social housing. The Karl-Marx-Hof is the flagship construction project from the Red Vienna period of the 1920s and 1930s. During this era, the social housing programs that continue to shape the city to this day really started to take off. The Karl-Marx- Hof is the capital’s largest social housing complex. Stretching for more than a kilometer, it contains 1,382 apartments. Its westernfacing boundary is served by a total of four stops on the D tram line. This symbolic contiguous building was created by Karl Ehn, a student of the legendary Viennese architect Otto Wagner.

The Waschsalon – the former Karl-Marx-Hof laundry – hosts a permanent exhibition on the Red Vienna period.

Discover the city by smartphone

Even more architectural tips can be found on ivie, the digital city guide for Vienna (iOS and Android). Download for free:


Text: Johannes Luxner

There are even more cool stories, exciting interviews, and curious tales about Vienna in the new Vienna, Intl.
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