Architect : Wagner, Otto
Locality : Wien
Country : Austria
Building style : Jugend/Art Nouveau
Project on the map (green arrow)
At first sight, the building’s facades seem restrained and planar, but on closer examination they reveal themselves to be full of ornamentation. The thin marble skin over the brick structure makes no attempt to simulate monumental ashlar masonry. On the contrary, the lead-covered iron bolts and aluminum caps reveal the separation of core and skin. However, the slabs are not actually fixed by the pins, but are bedded in a conventional layer of mortar. In the middle section of the main facade, the bolts are increased in number to form a pattern over the entire surface. The main banking hall has a curved, frosted glass ceiling beneath a protective glazed roof and forms the translucent heart of the scheme.
Externally, the building reveals a clear canonical division into three sections: a plinth story, the upper floors, and an attic story. Internally, the banking hall evokes the feeling of a basilica-like space, and represents the most immediate materialization of the doctrine Wagner formulated in 1896: “All modern forms must comply with the new materials, the new requirements of our age...They must represent our own better, democratic, self-assured, ideal being...”
Ruth Hanisch, “Icons of Architecture. The 20th Century.” Edited by Sabine Thiel-Siling. Prestel-Verlag, Munich, 2005, p. 20.
Ed. Heikki Nikkinen