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Otto Wagner Pavilions Karlplatz and Hietzing: the Fanciest Tube Stations in the World

Surprisingly, you can find some of the best Jugend architecture in Vienna in the U-Bahn and railway stations. Join us for a visit to two of the most beautiful ones, the Pavillion in Karlplatz and the Hofpavillion in Hietzing.

The construction of the Vienna U-Bahn around 1900 represented a milestone in the city's transport history. Otto Wagner combined functional aspects with artistic ones and for the first time a mass transportation system had an aesthetic programme giving the transport network a distinctive character that still shapes the cityscape today. Warner's idea of modern life required modern design free from historical models. Instead, he gave the strictest consideration to function, need and construction, or as he put it himself: Artis sola domina necessitas - necessity is the only mistress of art.

A Viennese architect, a professor, a proponent of Viennese modernism, and an urban planner, Otto Wagner (1841 – 1918) had an incredible impact on the landscape of Vienna. In his own words “something impractical cannot be beautiful”. (By the way, he was buried at the Hietzinger cemetery at Maxingstraße 15 - look for Number 131 in Group 13 - just a few steps from Gustav Klimt’s last resting place, should you have the time to check that, too.)

Many Viennese U-Bahn stations still retain their original Wagner design, including those at Margaretengürtel, Pilgramgasse, Kettenbrückengasse, Roßauer Lände, Friedensbrücke, and Schönbrunn - check when taking the U-Bahn!

The two original Karlsplatz Stadtbahn station buildings were built in Jugendstil or Art Nouveau in 1898 on both sides of the square. During the planning for the current nodal station in the 1960's, the pavilions were saved from demolition.

The dismantled and restored pavilions were put back in place in 1977 after the new square had been completed. They no longer serve any transport purpose and one was made a café and the other transformed into an Otto Wagner Pavilion and today, the architecturally unique buildings are probably the most famous examples of Viennese modernism: Wagner's iron structures with inserted marble slabs were completed with a rich ornamental decoration.

There are three steps to enter the Karlsplatz pavilion but inside, it is fully accessible. Given the size and original use, there is no loo nor café. However, there is a small but well equipped museum shop with fancy Wagner stuff on sale.

The second part of our U-Bahn journey, the Pavilion of the Imperial and Royal Highest Court - Pavillon des k.u.k. Allerhöchsten Hofes in Hietzing was a private station for the use of the Emperor and his court when travelling to their summer house, Schönbrunn. Built in 1899, it is one of the highlights of the Wiener Stadtbahn although its significance was rather symbolic as Emperor Franz Joseph only used it twice (on 16 June 1899 on a visit to the Upper Wiental Line and on 12 April 1902 on a visit of the Donaukanal Line).

The public impact of the small structure with its sensational new use of form and interiors reached well Wagner's goal. The imperial waiting room boasts gilded mahogany panelling and a carpet with stylised philodendra flowers. A painting by Carl Moll on the wall shows a "View of Vienna from a Balloon at 300 m". The original furniture has unfortunately been lost. In contrast to the other Stadtbahn stations, the pavilion and its cupola have baroque elements that are often interpreted as the architect's sign of respect for the Emperor.

There are two steps at the entrance but inside, the museum is barrier free. There is a loo and a rack for coats. You can buy a few souvenirs at the ticket desk at the entrance.

Wien Museum Otto Wagner Pavillon

Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna

Otto Wagner Hofpavillion Hietzing

Schönbrunner Schloßstraße  1130 Wien


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