Architectural estates of the 20th century


As a rule, the estates of Austrian architects entered the Architectural Collection at the initiative of their respective heirs and/or employees of the Albertina. However, the holdings that have been accumulated in this way over the past decades are, strictly speaking, not exclusively artistic ‘estates’ of architects, but frequently encompass plans, studies, photographs, sketchbooks, and letters that have only been acquired after the death of their authors. This is why the Albertina likes to refer to these holdings as ‘archives’.  

The Architectural Collection keeps archives of architects who graduated from both of Vienna’s traditional architectural schools, the Academy of Fine Arts and the University of Technology. Josef Frank, Clemens Holzmeister, Heinrich Kulka, and Helmut Wagner-Freynsheim were trained under Carl König at the University of Technology (then the Academy of Technology), whereas Leopold Bauer, Hubert Gessner, and Hans Kestranek studied under König’s antipode, Otto Wagner, at the Academy of Fine Arts. In a supplementary effort, the plans and drawings by Carl von Hasenauer, Otto Wagner’s predecessor at the Academy, have been brought together from diverse sources and assembled in an archive of their own.

The holdings of works by Lois Welzenbacher, who studied at the Academy of Technology in Munich, and Adolf Loos, who was trained in Dresden and the United States, represent further architectural schools.  

Due to all of these architectural archives, the Albertina’s Architectural Collection is capable of visualizing the entire spectrum of twentieth-century architecture, from traditional buildings (such as those by Leopold Bauer) to radical Functionalism (represented, for example, through Helmut Wagner-Freynsheim).

Further holdings of architectural drawings dating from the epoch in question include, among other groups of works, the estate of Adolf Kautzki, a student of Peter Behrens who conceived buildings for the Afghan government in the 1950s and 1960s, the estate of Ernst Kirsch, a student of Friedrich Ohmann, as well as several drawings by Friedrich Ohmann himself.

Up to now, four major archives have been made accessible online, offering a representative survey of this part of the Architectural Collection:
The Carl Hasenauer Archive keeps the largest and most relevant part of the entire estate of this renowned architect of the Ringstrasse era, who together with Gottfried Semper planned and supervised the construction of the Museums of Art History and Natural History and the Burgtheater in Vienna. This section encompasses plans from the Architectural Collection and the Carl Hasenauer archive proper, as it was originally preserved in our museum, as well as revealing additions that used to be stored in the attic of the Vienna Burgtheater.
The Clemens Holzmeister Archive includes parts of the architect’s artistic estate. Holzmeister’s substantial oeuvre, which results from a long life and career, is comprehensively documented in the Albertina according to a topographic system and in alphabetical order. It comprises some 5,000 objects of mostly large-sized sketches and drawings (predominantly in charcoal, chalk, or pencil on transparent paper).  

After the death of Josef Frank in Stockholm in 1967, his estate of artistic works and writings was split up among several collections. A major part of his late designs entered the Albertina in the early 1970s, thanks to the intervention of the architect Hermann Czech and through Dagmar Grill, with whom Frank had lived in Stockholm during the final decade of his life. The architect’s large watercolours, laid down on cardboard, represent a particularly appealing part of his archive.  

In 1961, Grete Welzenbacher, the widow of the architect Lois Welzenbacher, donated to the Albertina the drawings and sketches by her husband, who had died in 1955. At the time, the University of Technology in Munich was also interested in the estate. But since the widow wished that emphasis be placed on the aspect of the architect’s draughtsmanship, she decided in favour of the Albertina as the permanent home of her husband’s drawn oeuvre.   



Picture Gallery


Leopold Bauer
Design for a patriotic building, c. 1933

Josef Frank
High-rise residential building, perspective view and ground plan

Josef Frank
Indefinite, Single Family Unit, Perspective (after 1940)

Hubert Gessner

Façade design for the bread factory in Ostrava, 1921


(Freiherr) Carl von Hasenauer
Panther’s head decoration, front and side views 

Clemens Holzmeister
Ankara, Government District; Study; Ministry of Customs, Gate Construction, perspectival views, 1934

Clemens Holzmeister
Sexten-Moos, The “Drei Zinnen” Hotel (Tre Cime); downhill front, perspective view, 1926


Oskar Laske
Design for a Family Home, view of street-side façade and façade section, about 1895


Adolf Loos
The Chicago Tribune Column, Chicago, Michigan Avenue/Austin Avenue/St. Clair Street, façade, 1922

Adolf Loos
The Chicago Tribune Column, Chicago, Michigan Avenue/Austin Avenue/St. Clair Street, perspective, 1922

Lois Welzenbacher
Vienna, building development near the Danube Canal, detail study, bird’s eye view, 1946