Two weeks ago on July 13th, 2013, architect, author, and professor Otto Wagner would have turned 172 years young! Wagner, a former professor at Vienna’s Academy of Fine Arts, left behind a great legacy, mainly in the capital of Austria where he crafted a defining architectural style and aesthetic for the Viennese Secession. He was able to reshape Vienna by taking a modern approach to architecture and urban planning, taking inspiration from Roman structures and considered architecture in relation to art, science and urban lifestyles at the turn of the 20th century by denying common design conventions. Wagner advocated using construction materials in their purest forms (unmodified) — like glass and marble –, and as a result those materials produced the neat & sleek lines associated with twentieth century modernist architecture. His main goal was to have Vienna become more livable for his fellow citizens and have the city be something its citizens could be proud of.
1) Church of St. Leopold (1907)
This Roman Catholic oratory of the Steinhof Psychiatric Hospital is often considered one of the most important Art Nouveau churches in the world. The church contains a hybrid of Classicism, Romanesque, Greek Orthodoxy and Arts and Crafts styles.
2) Postal Savings Bank (1905)
This building is regarded as an important early work of modern architecture, representing Wagner’s first move away from Art Nouveau and Neoclassicism, and was constructed using reinforced concrete.
3) Majolica House (1899)
Wagner ornamented what would have otherwise been a fairly standard mixed-use — apartment housing over retail — masonry building and made it extraordinary with textile-like cladding decoration along the entire facade.