Vienna Tours Gasometers.The Vienna Gasometers are gigantic industrial brick towers – heavy, closed, light defying. Jean Nouvel and the other contemporary Viennese architects involved must have loved the challenge to beam them into the 21st century. Let me share my experience of thearchitectural tourthrough Gasometer City below.
The four 113-year old gasometers areprotected monuments. They are fifteen storey high and have been re-modelled and transformed in 2001 into what is calledGasometer City. This town in a town comprises 615 modern appartements, an event hall holding 3.500 people, a cinemacenter, a shoppingmall, a student home, offices, schools, medical and other facilities.
I remember the rave parties in the empty Gasometers in the early 1990’s. Before being transformed, the empty gasometers were also used for a scene ofJames Bond’s The Living Daylights.
The Gasometer Community
Vienna Tours Gasometers.The Gasometer community is the closest knit in all Vienna. 90 percent of today’s residents were early settlers in the new Gasometers in 2001, and many of them got to know each other even before moving in, thanks to the Gasometers’ own online forum where everything is being communicated, from residential affairs to local parties and jobs.
The Architectural Tour
Vienna Tours Gasometers.The Gasometers in Vienna have been attracting a selective crowd of lovers of architecture, contemporary design, and novel forms of urban living.
Each of the four gasometers displays a very different architectural concept for the same type of space. This makes the tour really exciting.
The Gasometer City tour takes you to the eastern fringe of Vienna, a formerly deprived area that has been partly transformed by this urban re-design project.
I found the shopping centre was a sobering start for our architectural tour. Andreas Pöschek, tour guide and one of the first Gasometer inhabitants, took us out and up to the top floors ofGasometer A.
Vienna Tours Gasometers.Jean Nouvel, the famous French architect who designed Gasometer A (and theHotel Sofitel Vienna Stephansdom) is known for hisarchitecture of lights and shadows.
We glanced through one of the windows into the inner courtyard: Dark metal, shiny aluminium wall slices of residential units, broken up to let the old brickwork from outside come through.
All was topped by the huge “spider net” of the open metal roof. Jean Nouvel’s design lets the gasometer’s inside sparkle and give it an airy open feeling.
Vienna Tours Gasometers.Gasometer B’s inside, designed by Viennese architectural studioCoop Himmelblau, is fairly non-descript to me. I like the idea of the modern shield they built in front of it, though, to provide a visual introduction to the ultramodern transformation inside the historic brickwork of the Gasometers.
Vienna Tours Gasometers.Gasometer C’s interior is a historic flashback. Viennese architectManfred Wehdorn, who earned his reputation with revitalising historic Viennese buildings, interpreted the old Viennese Pawlatschen courtyards in the city centre. The inner courtyard runs galleries on each level, which lead to the entrances of the residential units, just like the 18th century Pawlatschen buildings in the first, third and fifth districts. The idea is great, though I miss those design twists that give historic interpretations that certain edge.
Vienna Tours Gasometers.Gasometer D’s design is completely different from the rest. ArchitectWilhelm Holzbauerbuilt the residential blocks in the centre rather than along the outer walls, enabling residents to strongly experience life inside a gasometer as they look through the outer walls.
You canbookthe one hour guided tour online.