Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

An Otto Wagner Embassy

The unbuilt Imperial Russian Embassy in Vienna

Otto Wagner was an exceptionally talented architect, though not, I think, the genius that many people would credit him with being. In the most emblematic work for which he is known, the Kirche am Steinhof in Vienna, there is too much angularity and not enough flow, curvature. For a free-standing structure it feels a bit stultified and uptight despite the brilliance of the individual elements of the design. I much prefer his Post Office Savings Bank and Stadtbahn stations.

Stumbling through the archives the other day, I came across this unexecuted Otto Wagner design for an Imperial Russian Embassy in Vienna: one now-vanished emperor’s embassy to another. From earlier in his career, it’s not as distinctively Ottowagnerian, but I admire the composition of the façade. The bulbous curved projections into the courtyard, however, are unfortunate, and too large for the space.

This post was published on Friday, September 21st, 2012 5:00 pm. It has been categorised under Architecture and been tagged under , , , , , .
Baron v Hetterscheidt
26 Sep 2012 3:37 pm

A pompous design, showing ambition but nothing which even hints at genius.
The Russians ended up simply adding a story to their old embassy – as well as a splendid Orthodox church, showing that, as always, the old regime had its priorities right.

Thomas Kelly
8 Oct 2012 4:26 pm

Wagner also submitted designs for the Hungarian Parliament, the Reichstag, and the Lutheran Dom in Berlin. Although they were not built, they would make wonderful topics for your future posts!

Valeria Kondratiev
2 Nov 2012 9:24 pm

I like this building design very much actually, and wouldn’t mind if that was what the next billionaire builder wanted to put up in New York.

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