Brick and Terracotta Architecture – Wienerberger, a Company that Shaped the City Deutsche Version dieser Tour
No other producer of building materials has shaped Vienna’s urban appearance and social history to such significant degree as Wienerberger. In 1819, a far-sighted entrepreneur recognised the huge demand for bricks in a growing city like Vienna. He bought the state-owned brickworks south of Vienna, at the same time engaging in coal-mining and real estate. Over the years, Wienerberger grew to become the largest brick manufacturer in Europe; today it is a global player. In the 1850s, it expanded into terracotta architectural ornaments. Many public buildings and private mansions on the Ringstrasse would be less impressive without their statues, pediments, friezes, reliefs and festoons.

The Majolica House on Wienzeile, built by the central figure of Vienna’s Art Nouveau, Otto Wagner, owes its beautiful and functional façade to the use of Wienerberger tiles. In the 1920s and 1930s, Wienerberger provided the building material and embellishments for Red Vienna’s impressive ‘Palaces for the Proletariat’, and a record amount of bricks was produced to help reconstruct Vienna after World War II. Included in this tour are landmark buildings such as the Musikverein, the Academy of Fine Arts and the Greek-Orthodox church by Theophil Hansen, who helped to popularise brick architecture in a city that hitherto had preferred ashlar facades. As every coin has two sides, we also talk about the appalling living and working conditions of the brick workers, Dr Victor Adler’s reports that shocked the public, and his eventual founding of the Austrian Social Democratic Party.

Meeting Point 1., Musikvereinsplatz 1, in front of the Musikverein
Dates There are no dates for this tour but it can be booked individually for a group