Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Day 5: Architectural Tour of Vienna

Rhenish-Romanesque St. Francis of Assisi church (built 1898-1910) Dear Husband took from the bus window. Also known as the Kaiser-Franz-Joseph-Jubiläumskirche to celebrate Emperor Franz Josef I's 50th anniversary on the throne, or more colloquially as "the Mexico church," as it's found on Mexico Plaza. Here's a better, street-level view.

The Neo-Gothic Rathaus (town hall, 1872-1883) lit up at dusk. It stands on the Ringstrasse, the semi-circular boulevard created where the the medieval city walls once stood. Like the Hausmannization of Paris (1850s), the idea here was to tear down the walls to ease the flow of traffic and commerce and to increase land for building. In Vienna, 1/3 of the Ringstrasse was supposed to be devoted to shops and residences, 1/3 to cultural installations (like museums and the opera), and 1/3 to green space. It was very popular with the up-and-coming bourgeoisie: they got big houses, refined past-times, and wide, green boulevards perfect for promenading but terrible for blockading (i.e. during a revolution). The Ringstrasse is only a semi-circle, because World War I interrupted the building orgy. 

Urania, the observatory, built in Art Nouveau style  at the confluence of the Vienna and Danube Rivers (1910). Now a public education institute with a restaurant overlooking the waters, its dome was badly damaged by bombing during World War II. It was reconstructed and re-opened in 1957.

UNO City--the O is for Office (1978)

Vienna is one of four headquarters of the United Nations. Trivia: do you know where the other three are?* It is also home to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), and the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO).

Trash incinerator/heating plant (1967-1971), designed by Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (1928-2000). It may look fairly tame, but the artist known as "Peaceful Realm-Rainy Day-Darkly Colorful-Hundred Waters" had a penchant for curved lines, uneven floors, and "tree tenants" growing on the roof and from windows. DH and I visited his museum (Kunsthauswien) the first time we were in Vienna; this time the group just went to the "Toilets of Modern Art" across the street.

At 51 stories, this is Austria's tallest building and Vienna's only skyscraper, the Millennium Tower (1999). It houses a cinema, office space, and a shopping center (Millennium-City), and it has its own internal telecommunications network. In the background you can see the Vienna woods, the foothills at the beginning (or the end) of the Alps. What? Can you hear that? It's the sound of music! Coming soon: post(s) about our performance(s) in Vienna.

* New York, Geneva, and Nairobi

1 comment:

  1. "If we remembered the same, we would not be different people." Vl. Nabokov
    You remember Wien differently than I. I was sick & took a taxi back to the hotel bathroom... Thanks for showing & telling me about what I missed.


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