Friday 13 May 2016

The Museums' Quarter in Vienna

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

looking closer

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.

The foyer

is open right up to the top of the building.

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.


  1. Pity I never visited Vienna in my youth: it would have driven me to ecstasies. Now I prefer the quieter life!

    1. The art in Vienna, Olga, was fantastic and plentiful. We had a great week but I do not think I will want to go back: too many palaces, too much grandeur - it all got a bit de trop after a while.

      As for the quiet life, I don't know about that: you are creating so many wonderful pieces and seem very busy to me. Is being so productive, a quiet life? It just seems different to me.