Remodeling: Wiener Eislaufverein – Viennese Ice Skating Society
3 July 2015, Vienna, Austria
DATE: 3/7/2015
"On a key site within the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage buffer zone, next to an existing high-rise hotel of the 1960s and on the site of an ice skating rink, a developer is proposing a new high-rise. This has caused enormous controversies in Vienna, not only because of the height of the building, but also because of the architectural quality." 

"The development pressure in Vienna is of such enormous scale that every seemingly potential square meter within the lucrative but cramped inner city is being scoured to test its potential. As you know, this is not unique to World Heritage Sites, but all the more concerning given the seriousness with which this Viennese case is being pursued.

The case is different in Vienna. Here the evident lack of development control on high rise construction within the buffer zone has already had a number of negative effects on the World Heritage Site itself, see for example the high rises on the eastern bank of the Danube Canal and the many others strewn around the Inner City. The proposed high rise next to the existing Intercontinental Hotel might not at first appear to be significantly different to the aforementioned high rises, however, it must be seen as a testing ground for all other developers seeking to build on similar properties within the buffer zone.

In the absence of a serious master plan for the densification of Vienna as whole that would safeguard the character of the protected World Heritage Site, the high rise for the Viennese Ice Skating Society is the last straw that would break the camel´s back. For this reason, Viennese Inner City unfortunately needs to be placed on the endangered list, subject to further review and investigations."

Prof. Dr. h.c. Wilfried Wang
O´Neil Ford Centennial Professor in Architecture, The University of Texas at Austin 
Partner, Hoidn Wang Partner, Berlin 
Deputy Director of the Architecture Section, Akademie der Künste Berlin

Download below the letter sent to the current Executive City Councillor for Urban Development of Vienna.