Hochhaus Herrengasse - Part II

The media and through it the public marvelled at the modern way of life that had finally arrived in Vienna. The opening was sold as a triumph of the Christian Democrats and modern architecture at once: The building is 50 metres and 16 floors high. This applies to the Eastern part of the building; the part that faces Herrengasse lane is only 12 floors high, which blends the building into its surroundings extremely well.

The buildings held 224 flats - strictly divided into 120 for families and 104 for "Junggesellen" (bachelors). The ground floor held (and still holds) shops, the first floor was used by doctors, lawyers and companies that required representative offices. A school was founded inside the building, too. The top floor of the highest part of Hochhaus Herrengasse was used as a restaurant. All apartments came with electric stoves - a big deal back then. Despite of the building being publicly subsidised, the rents were very high. From the beginning, Hochhaus Herrengasse was regarded an up-market residence and became popular with Vienna′s upper-class.

The Social Democrats furiously tried to get something like their version of a "counter-Hochhaus", but failed with the defeat and resulting persecution after 1933. Only after the Second World War, they could return to their visions of a new and higher Vienna. The first government of the post-war and red-again Vienna built the Ringturm, the only other (and only proper) Hochhaus of the first district. A genuinely socialist Hochhaus was built in the centre of the Theodor-Körner-Hof in the early 1950ies: The Hochhaus Matzleinsdorf in southern Margareten.

Skyscrapers of Vienna: Beyond Hochhaus Herrengasse

Other "skyscrapers" or at least significant multi-storey buildings followed. Note for example the Millenniumstower in the Brigittenau, Vienna′s 20th district. Or the office towers of the Wienerberg City, a relatively new office neighbourhood in the generally not very appealing district of Favoriten. Another "hot-sport" for office towers is the area around the UNO-City (officially called the "United Nationals Office Vienna" or "UNOV"); here mini-skycrapers have popped out like mushrooms since the 1990ies. The most important ones include the Ares Tower and the Andromeda Tower.

Those towers that are close to the city centre are still somewhat controversial these days, as the first district and the Ringstraße are part of the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site, which comes with rather strict building regulations. Especially the new stations of Wien Mitte and the former Südbahnhof, the main station of Vienna, created quite an aggressive debate among architects, UNESCO representatives and - of course - the general public.

Attractions nearby the Hochhaus Herrengasse are numerous, so I focus only on the most significant ones in the immediate surroundings: The Minoritenkirche with Palais Dietrichstein, Palais Liechtenstein and the Ballhaus, Palais Starhemberg, Palais Niederösterreich, Palais Porcia and other representative Baroque palais in its surroundings. Palais Ferstel with Café Central and Palais Esterhazy in der Wallnerstraße. And finally Kohlmarkt, Michaelerkirche, Spanish Riding School and Hofburg.

Return to "Hochhaus Herrengasse - Part I"

back to "vienna travel guide"

Vienna by District

District Overview - 1st (Innere Stadt) - 2nd (Leopoldstadt) - 3rd (Landstraße) - 4th (Wieden) - 5th (Margareten) - 6th (Mariahilf) - 7th (Neubau) - 8th (Josefstadt) - 9th (Alsergrund) - 10th (Favoriten) - 11th (Simmering) - 12th (Meidling) - 13th (Hietzing) - 14th (Penzing) - 15th (Fünfhaus) - 16th (Ottakring) - 17th (Hernals) - 18th (Währing) - 19th (Döbling) - 20th (Brigittenau) - 21st (Floridsdorf) - 22nd (Donaustadt) - 23rd (Liesing) -  Ringstraße - Surroundings

Further Reading

German Wikipedia on the Hochhaus Herrengasse

Hochhaus Herrengasse according to Architekturzentrum Wien