While Vienna is well-known for its architecture, most tend to instantly think of the likes of the Baroque and the Otto Wagner buildings that crowd its centre. However, in the last decade, some shiny and impressive modern architecture has been turning up around the city, offering a bold contrast to the old.
These are some of our favourite modern architectural hits in Vienna. The shinier, the taller, the better.
Where: Am Belvedere 1, 1100
Straddling the 4rth and the 10th district as part of Vienna’s new main train station, the wavy and curvaceous glass exterior of the Erste campus stand out as one of the most unique building complexes in Vienna. There’s not a rigid angle to be seen here. It’s all about the curves. The brains behind this masterpiece are the locally-based architects, Henke Schreieck Architekten.
Where: Welthandelspl. 1, 1020
This Economics and Business University campus on the border of the Prater park makes us want to study… again, and again, and again. It’s an inspiring place. You can see that the architects (which were a collection of various international firms), had an absolute blast putting this campus together, with every building different, and each an architectural wonder in itself.
Where: Guglgasse 6, 1110
The Gasometer is one of the most impressive examples of Vienna’s habit in repurposing old and unused structures, and giving them a new life. What used to be gas silos were transformed between 1999 and 2001 into a living complex that contains a concert hall, a shopping mall, and apartments.
Where: Wienerbergstraße 11, Twin Tower, 1100
Designed by the renowned Italian architect, Massimiliano Fuksas, the Wienerberg city sticks out in Vienna’s outer 10th district like a pole dancing pole at a nunnery. Ok, we’re not sure how we came to that comparison, however, it really does stand out. Being the only high rise structure out in these parts, the Vienna Twin Towers, which are the main feature, impressively rise above the otherwise flat skyline. The view from the top of these towers is impressive, as well.
Where: Untere Donaustraße 21/1, 1020
Most impressive when a light show plays across it’s facade after dark, the UNIQA building is one of the most iconic sights to see along Vienna’s Donaukanal. It may not be obvious, but the floor plan is stylised after the letter ‘Q’ which is the UNIQA company’s symbol. It’s 75 meters high, is bizarrely shaped, and adds a touch of Time’s Square flair to this part of the city. Ok, maybe we’re exaggerating, but it does stand out due to the patterns that crawl across it every night.
Where: DC Towers, 1220
Most people will only see this building from the perspective of an ant. With the sun glaring off of its mesmerising edgy structure, it’s one of the most photographed modern buildings in Vienna and the tallest skyscraper in the city to date. However, it will be joined by another tower in coming years as this is only part one of what will be the ‘Donau City Towers.’ Both of them have been designed by the French architect, Dominique Perrault.
Where: Am Heumarkt 2A, 1030
The food served up here is not only some of the most highly regarded fine dining chow in Vienna, however, the restaurant itself is truly a unique experience, starting with the eye-popping architecture of the place. A monolithic glass cube in Vienna’s Stadtpark, Steirereck’s design is uber-modern, while on its insides tradition mixes with culinary theatre. The Vienna-based architecture company, PPAG, are responsible for the outlandish design of this very impressive restaurant.
Where: Lichtensteg 3, 1010
The idea was that it comes out looking like a glistening dark-coloured gem stone. We’re not sure if they pulled this off, but the design Hotel Topazz definetely is capable of drawing instant attraction, and is certainly an architectural gem. Its brown mosaic facade absorbs and reflects natural light, making this a real eye-catching sight if you’re looking up while wandering through the city center.
Sofitel Vienna Hotel
Where: Praterstraße 1, 1020
Another Frenchy architect, Jean Nouvel, is behind this impressive building that is part hotel, part gastronomy, part office space. The most incredible feature about this architectural beauty is not only its bright ceiling of the rooftop bar – an eye-popping piece of art – but that this interior rooftop can be seen from the street below. We’re sure this was no accident by the Frenchy. If you haven’t stayed here, or sipped a cocktail in its bar, you’d better get on it if you appreciate architectural eye candy.
Where: Museumsquartier, 1070
The big grey blob of a building located as a centrepiece of Vienna’s Museumsquartier is more one of those paintings you look at because it’s different and interesting and you can’t look away, rather than for its beauty. To us, it speaks of a brutalism that’s giving into its inner emotions. But that may just be us trying to sound intellectual and artsy 😉
It’s grey, with slits for windows, and a roof that is curved like a car roof. The avant-garde structure is the perfect home for the city’s largest collection of contemporary art. Its facade is a anthracite grey basalt lava, and its interior has been optimised for showcasing art, with plenty of natural lighting making its way in through a skylight and the various narrow windows. The locally-based German architectural company, Ortner and Ortner, are behind this bold structure.