One of the advantages of being a renowned architect is you get to build a rather nice house for yourself. The Otto Wagner Villa out in the Vienna woods served as home, workspace, and event venue.
- Built in the late 1880s for Otto Wagner’s own use
- Beautiful exterior and fully-renovated interior
- Now the Ernst Fuchs Museum
- See also: Wagner in Wien
An architectural jewel
The history of the villa reads a little like that of Vienna itself. A triumph of art and creativity followed by slow decline, debasement by the Nazis, post-WWII struggles, and rebirth in pristine glory.
Otto Wagner built the villa in the late 1880s. Unlike many of the other Wagner houses dotted around Vienna, this one was for his own use. At the time, the villa stood out as a triumphal mix of Jugendstil creativity and Palladian influence, with a columned Arcadian entrance flanked by two wings.
According to the current owners, Wagner hosted various festivities there enjoyed by the likes of such artistic luminaries as Klimt and Mahler.
Wagner eventually sold the villa and decades of inglorious decline followed, including a period providing office space for the Nazis. We have the artist, Ernst Fuchs (1930 – 2015), to thank for saving the villa from destruction. He acquired the object in 1972 and it now serves as the Ernst Fuchs Museum. So, rather wonderfully, a ticket to the museum gives you access to the inside.
The fully-restored villa looks magnificent with its yellow and gold exterior. Apparently, the insides were in such disrepair that Fuchs had to remodel, refurbish, and redecorate most of it (in his gloriously inimitable style).
One room, however, remains very much as it was in Wagner’s time. The so-called Adolf Böhm-Saal served the architect as a studio from around 1900. Inside, you’re immediately struck by the bright natural light, the gold Jugendstil wall and ceiling decoration, and the glass windows mosaic titled Herbstlandschaft im Wienerwald (my translation: Autumn Landscape in the Vienna Woods).
The creator of those wonderful windows gave his name to the room. Largely forgotten now, Adolf Böhm joined the likes of Klimt in co-founding the famous Secession group of artists.
Incidentally, Wagner built a second villa next door a little later. The Otto Wagner Villa II (as it’s known) is a more prosaic, practical building that no doubt reflected his evolution to a more utilitarian architectural style.
How to get to the villa
Wagner obviously wanted a little peace and quiet while working, so built the house out in the Vienna woods on the west side of the city. Trams and trains don’t reach this part of town for good reason, but there is a bus stop almost outside the villa.
Take bus line 43B, 52A, or 52B and get off at Campingplatz Wien-West 1. These buses all leave from Hütteldorf, which is, for example, the last station on the U4 subway line and a railway station in its own right.
Address: Hüttelbergstraße 26, 1140