Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station

Vienna, Austria | C.1898

Photo Credit: Henryk Krzeminski

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A Monument to both an artistic movement and the man who promoted it, the Karlsplatz Stadtbahn Station is a work of art. The above ground structures are well-known examples of Jugendstil architecture, the artistic style of the Vienna Secession movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.

Otto Wagner, illustrious Austrian architect and urban planner, designed the structures unlike any other Stadtbahn stations. The identical stations consist of a steel framework with marble slabs mounted on the exterior, and sport floral motifs and a distinctive curved roof line. Metal and wood were painted apple green, the signal color of the Stadtbahn. 

Wagner’s design was revolutionary at the time, and helped fulfill his goal of creating modern stations to promote Vienna as the capitol of the Empire. 

When the Stadtbahn line was converted to U-Bahn in 1981, the original station was scheduled to be demolished. However, public outcry put a stop to those plans. Instead, both buildings were disassembled, renovated, and then reassembled two meters (6.5 feet) higher to accommodate the new U-Bahn. Today, one of the buildings is used as an exhibition space by the Vienna Museum, with a U-Bahn entrance in its rear, and the other is a cafe.

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