Haas House: most exciting buildings in Vienna and the city’s pride

The Haas House is located in Vienna, Austria, in whose facade one can see the mirror image of St. Stephen’s Cathedral, was designed by star architect Hans Hollein. The building is in stark contrast to the historic buildings in the center of the old city and was originally conceived as a department store.

Haas House

Modern Haas House was one of the most disputed building projects of the late 20th century in Vienna. Viennese architect Hans Hollein set about to introduce a concrete and glass structure opposite St. Stephen’s cathedral, a plan that did not go well with the Viennese population.

The round curve of its facade quotes the ancient Roman citadell Vindobona, whose former layout is traceable throughout Vienna’s first district. Medieval houses were built on top of Roman ruins, modern houses were built on top of medieval ruins… Haas House uses this principle to blend into its surrounding despite its contrasting architectural style.

Today, Haas House is one of the most exciting buildings in Vienna and the city’s pride. The square of St. Stephen’s cathedral is opened up by the glass facade. Images of St. Stephen’s Cathedral reflected by the straight glass facade of Haas House are a popular motif.

The interior was designed with attention to detail. At the top you can enjoy a spectacular view of St. Stephen’s Cathedral at a beautiful coffee shop and restaurant.

The original, Imperial Haas-Haus

«Philip Haas & Söhne» hired two star-architects of the historicist period, August Eduard van der Nüll and Siccard von Siccardsburg. The gay couple had also designed the Staatsoper, the Austrian national opera just down the Kärntner Straße Road. With the nastiness of WWII, this original Haas Haus wasdestroyed in 1945 and replaced by a provisory building with no architectural value in 1953. Almost 40 years passed.

Then, in 1990, the new Haas Haus was opened: It was designed to echo the outline of the Roman ditch that followed today′s Graben and the corner of the building marks the edge of the Roman army camp. Once the building was opened, Austrian tabloids discovered «Haas Haus bashing» as their new theme of the season. This resulted in the architect giving in and «downgrading» his designs for the square in front of the building.

Haas House today: Finally accepted

Some more years passed and the Viennese finally discovered other important things to talk about (for example, about themselves, about the weather, or about themselves again). Today, most people will acknowledge that the Haas Haus is animportant example of late 1980ies architecture.

The Haas Haus is also an important venue for political TV shows produced by my former employer, the Austrian National Broadcast ORF. The roof is occupied by a luxury restaurant and grants spectacular views on the Stephansdom and the historic city centre of Vienna.

Nearby attractions — well, pretty much anything in the city centre. So I will name only sightseeing attractions within a five minute walk: The Pestsäule or Trinity Column; the Graben, Kohlmarkt and Kärntner Straße; the Hoher Markt Square; the Peterskirche; and the Jewish Museum.

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