Hosenträgerhaus, Vienna:
Otto Wagner′s „Brace House"

The so-called Hosenträgerhaus is a modern house designed by the (at least locally) famous Art Nouveau or Jugendstil architect Otto Wagner. It can be found in a very prominent location at Universitätsstraße, so essentially just behind the Votivkirche church. The term Hosenträger means "braces" and is not part of the official name of the building - it refers to the vertical strips on the façade, an unusual feature for houses in Vienna and apparently something that reminded the Viennese of braces. Anyway, I don′t know if there is an official name for the building, so the nickname has proved to be quite successful.

The Hosenträgerhaus was built between 1887 and 1889, a time when Wagner was still working with elements of late-Historicism; for examples of his transformation, have a look at my articles on the Otto-Wagner-Villa I and Otto-Wagner-Villa II - his private properties from two different creative eras. The original outlay of the Hosenträgerhaus was a very generous one: Three sides of the house are detached, only one side borders to another building; the characteristic façade can be found on the detached part.

Architecture of the Hosenträgerhaus, Vienna

The outlay of the Hosenträgerhaus is very generous: Originally, there was a café on the ground floor; on each floor above that one, two apartments at 300 square metres each could be found. The Beletage (representative first floor) has a balcony. The Hosenträgerhaus is said to be the first building in which one can see the emerging „dissolution" of the Beletage that Wagner later pushed forward. It is a key-building to understanding how Wagner turned away from the Baroque models of the Palais and turned towards a "slim" outlay. The stretched, high façade is said to resemble multi-storey buildings that were developed in the US at the same time.

The Hosenträgerhaus is private property and can not be seen from the inside. From outside, you can spot neo-Baroque ornaments on the roofs (including statues of Pallas Athene and Venus) and stucco-work in the upper part of the building. As of 2009, the Hosenträgerhaus undergoes renovations. Attractions nearby include the Dreifaltigkeitskirche, the Altes AKH, the Main University, the Palais Schönborn and the Schwarzspanierkirche - as well as the previously mentioned Votivkirche.

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Further Reading

Planet Vienna has nice pics of the Hosenträgerhaus