Otto Wagner

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Otto Wagner
Otto Wagner photo2 retouched.jpg
Otto Koloman Wagner

(1841-07-13)13 July 1841
Died11 April 1918(1918-04-11) (aged 76)
Parent(s)Rudolf Simeon Wagner
Suzanne von Helffenstorffer-Hueber
BuildingsNussdorf weir and lock
Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station
Majolica House
Postal Office Savings Bank Building
Kirche am Steinhof
ProjectsViennese Wiener Stadtbahn

Otto Koloman Wagner (German: [ˈɔto ˈvaːɡnɐ] (About this soundlisten); 13 July 1841 – 11 April 1918) was an Austrian architect and urban planner, known for his lasting impact on the appearance of his home town Vienna, to which he contributed many landmarks.

Life and career[edit]

Wagner was born in Penzing, a district in Vienna. He was the son of Suzanne (née von Helffenstorffer-Hueber) and Rudolf Simeon Wagner, a notary to the Royal Hungarian Court.[1][2][3] He studied architecture at the Viennese Polytechnic Institute and the Royal School of Architecture in Berlin.[4] After completing his education, he returned to Vienna to work. In 1864, he started designing his first buildings in the historicist style. In the mid- and late-1880s, like many of his contemporaries in Germany (such as Constantin Lipsius, Richard Streiter and Georg Heuser), Switzerland (Hans Auer and Alfred Friedrich Bluntschli) and France (Paul Sédille), Wagner became a proponent of Architectural Realism. It was a theoretical position that enabled him to mitigate the reliance on historical forms. In 1894, when he became Professor of Architecture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, he was well advanced on his path toward a more radical opposition to the prevailing currents of historicist architecture.

By mid-1890s, he had already designed several Vienna Secessionist buildings. Wagner was very interested in urban planning — in 1890 he designed a new city plan for Vienna, but only his urban rail network, the Stadtbahn, was built. In 1896 he published a textbook entitled Modern Architecture in which he expressed his ideas about the role of the architect; it was based on the text of his 1894 inaugural lecture to the Academy. His style incorporated the use of new materials and new forms to reflect the fact that society itself was changing. In his textbook, he stated that "new human tasks and views called for a change or reconstitution of existing forms". In pursuit of this ideal, he designed and built structures that reflected their intended function, such as the austere Neustiftgasse apartment block in Vienna.

In 1897, he joined Gustav Klimt, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann and Koloman Moser shortly after they founded the "Vienna Secession" artistic group. He will go on to develop a style that included new forms of modernity, Majolica House is generally considered that breaking point although those signs appear in some of his earlier works as well.

Wagner had a strong influence on his pupils at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. This "Wagner School"[4] included Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Karl Ehn, Jože Plečnik and Max Fabiani. Another student of Wagner's was Rudolph Schindler, who said "Modern Architecture began with Mackintosh in Scotland, Otto Wagner in Vienna, and Louis Sullivan in Chicago."[4] Wagner died in Vienna in 1918.

From 1860 to 1890[edit]

From 1890 to 1918[edit]


  • Wagner, Otto (1988). Modern Architecture: A Guidebook for His Students to This Field of Art. Trans. Harry F. Mallgrave. Santa Monica: Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. ISBN 0-226-86938-5.


  1. ^ Slesin, Suzanne; Clniel, Stafford; Rozensztroch (25 October 1994). Mittel Europa: rediscovering the style and design of Central Europe. C. Potter. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  2. ^ Wagner, Otto (1987). Graf, Otto Antonia (ed.). Masterdrawings of Otto Wagner: an exhibition of the Otto Wagner-Archiv, Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. The Drawing Center. Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Wien. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  3. ^ "Otto Koloman Wagner - Vienna 1900". 2003. Retrieved 16 July 2012.
  4. ^ a b c Sarnitz, August (2005). Otto Wagner: Forerunner of Modern Architecture. Taschen. ISBN 3-8228-3647-8.

Further reading[edit]

  • Mallgrave (ed.), Harry (1993). Otto Wagner: Reflections on the Raiment of Modernity. Santa Monica: Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. ISBN 0-89236-257-X.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Duncan Berry, J. (1993). "From Historicism to Architectural Realism: On Some of Wagner's Sources". In Harry Mallgrave (ed.). Otto Wagner: Reflections on the Raiment of Modernity. Santa Monica: Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities. pp. 242–278. ISBN 0-89236-257-X.
  • Graf, Otto Antonia (1994). Otto Wagner: Das Werk des Architekten 1860-1918 (in German). Vienna: Bölhau. ISBN 3-205-98224-X.
  • Kolb, Günter (1989). Otto Wagner Und Die Wiener Stadtbahn (in German). Munich: Scaneg. ISBN 3-89235-029-9.
  • Schorske, Carl (1981). "The Ringstrasse and the Birth of Urban Modernism". Fin-De-Siècle Vienna: Politics and Culture. New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 0-394-74478-0.
  • Muller, Ines (1992). Die Otto Wagner-Synagoge in Budapest (in German). Wien: Löcker. ISBN 978-3-85409-200-1.
  • Geretsegger, Heinz (1979). Otto Wagner, 1841-1989; the Expanding City; The Beginning of Modern Architecture. New York: Rizzoli. ISBN 0-8478-0217-5.

External links[edit]

Digitized books from the architecture collection of AMS Historica, the digital library of the University of Bologna.