Postsparkasse (Art Nouveau Building in Vienna)

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Detail at the roof of the Postsparkasse in central Vienna

Here we go again, a decorative element in Jugendstil (German-speaking Art Nouveau). As I said at a picture before, this does not mean that Vienna is packed with Art Nouveau; in fact, Praque or Budapest probably offer more of this style. The angel shown in the picture above lives on the roof of the Postsparkasse, a very mature Jugendstil building designed by Otto Wagner as the headquarter of the Austrian national mail.

It was one of the first buildings in Austria that was made using steel-and-concrete compositions; it was opened in 1906 and to me, it looks a lot like North American Art Deco of the 1920ies. The Postsparkasse was always used by the national mail and now that the mailing services are privatised, the buildings still serves its original purpose.

Regular opening hours of post offices apply to the Postsparkasse; go there during the day and you can go inside the recently refurbished Schalterhalle, the central hall. The building is quite remarkable; in the Schalterhalle, there are temporary exhibitions on architecture and interior design. To the opposite of the Postsparkasse, you can find the former Kriegsministerium ("ministry of war", quite appropriate), one of my least favourite buildings in Vienna. Both buildings were made at approximately the same time - the Kriegsministerium was supervised by Archduke Franz Ferdinand, who couldn′t stand Otto Wagner and his plain, modern designs.