Postsparkasse

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Österreicher Postsparkasse, Otto Wagner, 1903-06 and 1910-12. The façade is covered in marble slabs mounted with iron bolts, capped with aluminium. The two statues on the top, by Othmar Schimkowitz, are also of aluminium (a very modern material).

I almost didn’t bother visiting this (rain; I’d seen it before), but I’m glad I did as it has been sold and it’s future is uncertain. Possibly another hotel. (I thought of how once-private buildings can become public (for an entrance fee, you can wander all over regal and imperial palaces now), and public buildings – like a post office savings bank – can turn private. That’s the way it goes.) I took photos and was struck again by the modernity and practicality of the design (glass bricks in the floor of the banking hall to give light to the space below, and a double glass roof to bring light into the hall itself). The heating pipes stand like sentinels. It’s a staider, more geometric design than Wagner’s earlier foliage phase, and it illustrates his commitment to functionalism and innovation (while maintaining a dedication to Emperor Franz Joseph). Very reminiscent of Charles Rennie Mackintosh (who exhibited in the Secession building in 1900.)

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