The first skyscraper in Vienna

Friday, 18.09.2015

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Architectural Model of the Hochhaus

The ‘Hochhaus Herrengasse’ was considered the first skyscraper in Vienna. It was built in 1931-32 by the architectural firm Theiss & Jaksch.

The ‘Hochhaus’ has a very functional look and stands in sharp contrast to all the highly decorative buildings that make up the ‘Innenstadt’. The floor space of the last 5 of the total 16 floors were reduced to form stepped terraces. The last two floors make up some sort of square glass pavilion crowning the edifice.

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Top Floor Glas Pavilion

It was this pavilion that I wanted to see. This was not so easy since it was a private residential building. However, the city of Vienna participated in ‘OPEN HOUSE WIEN’. On the 12. and 13. September 2015 architecturally noteworthy buildings of any type were accessible to the public. The ‘Hochhaus Herrengasse’ participated and I was able to see the pavilion.

My expectations were high since the top pavilion is echoed at ground level where a wonderful circular glass pavilion is situated. There one can enjoy a cup of coffee (see www.imhochhaus.at).

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Unger und Klein- Wein-Kaffee im Hochhaus

Unfortunately, although it was great to see the top two floors much of the glass had been replaced with aluminium plates. The space looked nothing like the ‘rotunda’ at ground level. Nevertheless this space exemplifies Le Corbusier”s ‘Dom-Ino’ House of 1914-15 with its open floor plan structure.

At the ‘Hochhaus’ the steel frame of the top two floors act completely independent from the floor plans. This allows complete freedom to design the interior configuration. In addition, there are no load-bearing walls allowing the outer walls to be made completely of glass.

This pavilion, altered over time, can still be appreciated when bearing the architectural model in mind displayed in the foyer.