Otto Wagner (1841-1918)

Austrian architect and designer Otto Wagner was one of the most prominent artists in Vienna at the turn of the 20th century.

Otto Wagner photo: profile in black and white.
Portrait of Otto Wagner

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About His Life

Otto Koloman Wagner was born on July 13, 1841, in Vienna, Austria. In 1894, Wagner was appointed professor of architecture at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts. Among his students were Art Nouveau architects Joseph Maria Olbrich and Josef Hoffmann. In his unusual inaugural lecture, he stated that he advocated for modern architecture in response to contemporary needs, and condemned stylistic imitation as inappropriate falsities. Additionally, his introductory lecture, embodied Wagner’s philosophy of architecture and design, was published as a book titled “Moderne Architektur,” the following year.

Then, in 1897, he joined Gustav Klimt, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Josef Hoffmann, and Koloman Moser after founding the “Vienna Secession” art group. The ideas of this group, helped Wagner develop a style that symbolically referenced new forms of modernity.

Karlsplatz Station (1898-99) by Otto Wagner.
Karlsplatz Station (1898-99) by Otto Wagner

Image source: by roryrory

Otto Wagner - apartments on Vienna's linke Wienzeile, along the Naschmarkt.-Vienna.
Apartments on Vienna’s linke Wienzeile designed by Wagner

Image source: by Ethan Prater

Major Works

  • Rumbach Street synagogue (1872): located in Budapest
  • Nussdorf weir and lock (1894): located in Vienna
  • Majolica House (1898–1899): located in Vienna
Majolica House (Majolikahaus), Vienna, 1898-99.
Majolica House in Vienna

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Majolica House close up photo, which showcases the elaborate floral designs along the side of the structure.
Majolica House, close up photo

Image source: by piotr ilowiecki

  • Postal Office Savings Bank Building (1894–1902): located in Vienna
  • Kirche am Steinhof (1903–1907): located in Vienna
  • Kirche am Steinhof
  • Viennese Wiener Stadtbahn: a metropolitan railway system
Kirche am Steinhof (Otto Wagner, 1907): Photo of a structure with a gold-dome roof and white walls.
Kirche am Steinhof (1907) by Otto Wagner

Image source: by liakada-web

Main facade of the Österreichische Postsparkasse (P.S.K.) building in Vienna.
Main facade of the Österreichische Postsparkasse (P.S.K.) building in Vienna

Image source: by roryrory

The Austrian Postsparkasse (1904-06) that Wagner designed is often called his masterpiece, both aesthetically and technically. In addition, he conceived this building as a work of art, using not only the newest materials such as reinforced concrete and aluminum. Also, he designed the entire interior, which reveals his early functionalist tendencies and new methods of furniture-making.

Postsparkasse - The innovative interiors of Otto Wagner’s early-20th-century Austrian Postal Savings Bank (Österreichische Postsparkasse).
Postsparkasse by Otto Wagner

Image source: by Thomas Ledl

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