Schloss Neugebäude Palace:
A chunk of forgotten Renaissance in Vienna - Part II
Schloss Neugebäude was left to the military that gratefully used the towers of the outer walls of the parks as a gun powder depots. After 1775, most decorative elements such as pillars were dismantled at the main building of Schloss Neugebäude and taken to Schönbrunn, where they were used for the construction of the Gloriette and the Roman ruins in the parks.
Ever since then, Schloss Neugebäude was used by the artillery section of the Austrian Imperial army. In 1780, the entire ground floor was transformed into a gun powder factory. In the 19th century, Schloss Neugebäude served as the gun powder and ammunition depot for the entire army of Vienna and surroundings. When the revolution broke out in 1848, the palace was heavily secured to prevent the rioting crowds from looting (or lighting) Schloss Neugebäude. The former park and gardens were used as storage space for cannons and transportation vehicles.
After the revolution, several army bases were built all around and in Vienna (most importantly, the Stiftskaserne, the Arsenal and the Rossauer Kaserne). When the construction of the Zentralfriedhof was discussed, many politicians wanted to have the artillery depot to be transferred and Schloss Neugebäude destroyed - however, nothing happened until the end of WWI in 1918.
Schloss Neugebäude after WWI
In 1909, the city of Vienna became the new owner of Schloss Neugebäude and let it to the army until 1918. In 1922, the city council decided against the declared will of the conservationists to tear down the southern wings of the palace and use the space including the former garden for the new crematory that was designed by the architect Clemens Holzmeister. The northern gardens had already been destroyed a long time ago and so only the battered main building was left.
During WWII, a tank factory moved in and after the end of the war, several other companies and factories followed. In 1967, the crematory was extended and finally made the former palace a rather bizarre artefact in the middle of modern buildings. At this time, Simmering was a rough area - not to say it was particularly charming today. Since the 1980ies, there were several attempts to re-vive Schloss Neugebäude.
In the part few years, the roofs were fixed and several companies that treat the building more carefully have moved in; the over-grown courtyard was cleared of weeds and bushes and is used as an open-air cinema sometimes during summer. The parts of the palace that are still preserved include the southern wall with its ten, cylindrical towers. They are used by the Zentralfriedhof cemetery′s administration as storage space.
What now? Schloss Neugebäude in Present & Future
The wall is approximately 1.5 kilometres long. The former pump house that allowed the irrigation of the gardens is now used by the crematory as office space. It is among the best-preserved buildings of Schloss Neugebäude. Most of the former gardens are used as agricultural land and will ultimately probably serve for apartment houses, especially the northern part.
The central building is 183 metres long and 14 metres wide and consists of a simple ground floor and a main, first floor. The roof was originally very flat and had viewing platforms. Both side-wings of the building are flanked by two towers. Not only the pump house, but several other side-buildings are preserved: The Löwenhof was the core of the menagerie, the Ballhaus used for games and the stables for the horses. Guided tours seem to be somewhat rare and I haven′t managed to attend one yet, but I think it is worth looking them up. As of 2008, Schloss Neugebäude is by no means refurbished or properly presentable - we will see if the city of Vienna comes up with a solution on how to use the building decently in the next years.
Attractions nearby are all concerned with the Zentralfriedhof Cemetery and the Crematory. See also the Gasometer City or the Pfarrkirche Simmering. If you want to learn more about Schloss Neugebäude off the site, do go to the Wien Museum and ask for specific information.
Returen to "Schloss Neugebäude - Part I"
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