Mariahilferstrasse is Vienna's longest and most lively shopping street. The Museums' Quarter is at one end of it
The core of the Museums' Quarter is the former imperial stable building which was repeatedly extended during the 19th century to accommodate more horses and facilities. After the founding of the Austrian Republic, the stables were converted into an exhibition space for trade shows. It continued to be used for this purpose until the late 1980s when the Museums' Quarter project got started.
The institutions of the Museums' Quarter are located around a series of courtyards at the heart of the old baroque stables. The courtyards are connected by long barrel-vaulted passageways which run through the old buildings.
Several of these passageways are enlivened by mini-museums or art installations showcasing sound design, comic-book art, street art and typography.
Turntables by Hans Kupelwieser in the main courtyard
The white cube of the Leopold Museum is the first museum one comes across. The museum houses Viennese Jugenstil and expressionist art; the world's largest collection of Egon Schiele artworks; and masterpieces of the Viennese Secession.
On the opposite side of the courtyard stands the MUMOK, the Museum of Modern Art, which shows very avant-garde exhibitions.
From outside, the building appears like a dark, closed block, clad in anthracite grey basal lava.
Situated next to the foyer are one major exhibition space, the shop and the café.
The inside is all glass
including the floors.
as is the elevator.
The white cube of the Leopold as seen from the MUMOK
The main courtyard was full of people both times we visited, lying on the distinctive benches, wandering about, or sitting in the numerous cafes and restaurants.
In summer the courtyard is also used for film screenings and open-air theatre, while in winter it houses an ice rink and numerous art installations.
It's a great space with a wonderful atmosphere.