WAGNER, Otto
(b. 1841, Penzing, d. 1918, Wien)

Stadtbahn Station

1899
Photo
Karlsplatz, Vienna

In 1894, following his competition success, Wagner was commissioned to design the buildings and installations for the 45 km-long Stadtbahn in Vienna. In this project, he developed one of the most important unified schemes for an urban transport system (completed 1901). Several lines were planned to link the city with its suburbs; the scheme eventually also encompassed flood regulation and embankment development of the Donaukanal. Joseph Maria Olbrich, who entered Wagner's office in 1894, also worked on the project, which involved some 36 stations, abutments, cuttings, open tunnels, 15 bridges and viaducts, in addition to platform buildings, signal boxes and the gamut of associated furnishings and equipment. The remarkable consistency in the designs, carried out in iron, stone and brickwork, indicates that Wagner maintained close personal control of the whole project.

After the systematic and artistic exploration of the Doric column in the Stadtbahn and of the form of the great Sphinx in the floodgates at Nußdorf, Jugendstil played a minor role in the work of Wagner and his pupils.

Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station is a former station of the Viennese Stadtbahn. The two buildings above ground on Karlsplatz are well-known examples of Jugendstil architecture. They were designed by Otto Wagner, adviser to the Transport Commission in Vienna, and Josef Maria Olbrich, and are, unlike the other Stadtbahn stations, made of a steel framework with marble slabs mounted on the exterior.

The station was opened as Akademiestraße in 1899. When the Stadtbahn line was converted to U-Bahn in 1981, the original station was scheduled to be demolished. However, as a result of public outcry, it was decided to keep the station buildings. Both buildings were disassembled, renovated, and then reassembled two metres higher than their original location after completion of U-Bahn construction. One of the buildings is now used as an exhibition space by the Vienna Museum, with an U-Bahn entrance in its rear; the other is used as a café.