As the home of Hoffmann, Wagner, Loos, and other towering personalities of modern architecture, you might expect Austria to have a suitable museum on the subject. And it does: the AZW or Architekturzentrum Wien.
- Museum of architecture
- Small permanent exhibition illustrates architecture’s role in the context of various contemporary issues
- Excellent digital information on Austrian buildings and architects
- Located inside Vienna’s MuseumsQuartier complex
- Regular events and special exhibitions
- See also:
Austrian Architecture Museum
(The main entrance to the Architecture Museum © Architekturzentrum Wien, photograph: Lisa Rastl)
You might describe the Architekturzentrum Wien as the fount of all architectural knowledge in Austria: a repository for records, a library, a research institution, and an exhibition centre.
(The digital collections alone provide a remarkable resource when I research a building or architect.)
But what does this museum of architecture have to offer the more causal visitor to Vienna?
The main attraction for those dipping toes into Austrian architecture is the permanent exhibition.
Hot Questions Cold Storage manages the trick of showcasing Austria’s architectural past while looking to the future.
The exhibition does this by placing various objects from the AZM’s extensive collections in seven themed areas that each address a contemporary issue. Every section highlights architecture’s role in the context of the wider theme.
(Johann Staber, international offices and conference centre Vienna “UNO City”, Bruno-Kreisky-Platz 1, Vienna, 1968–1987; presentation model in a gift box © Architekturzentrum Wien, Collection)
A congenial selection of around 400 items (models, furniture, films, photographs, newspaper cuttings and similar) within a diverse mix of display designs offers intriguing insights into architecture’s relationship with:
- A whole host of other disciplines, such as political economics, religion, and diplomacy
- Pressing issues of our time, such as sustainability, resource use, and gender equality
The individual exhibition elements themselves introduce you to a host of projects to pique your curiosity: red Vienna’s social housing projects, for example, or the origin story of the UN headquarters complex.
The result packs quite a punch for a small space.
(And the kid in you can’t help but smile at the miniature models of some famous Viennese buildings constructed from toy bricks.)
Tickets & visitor tips
At the time of writing, a standard adult ticket cost €9. All the text information in the permanent exhibition comes in both German and English.
- The AZW has the café-restaurant “Kaan” inside with, as you might expect, unique interior architecture: a vaulted design with ceramic tiling by the Turkish artist Asiye Kolbai-Kafalier.
- Look out for the temporary special exhibitions. I list the main ones in the Design & Architecture section of the exhibitions page
- Another exhibition venue with a distinctly architectural flavour to it is the Ringturm
How to get to the AZW
For the MuseumsQuartier in general, see the travel tips at the bottom of this page.
The Architekturzentrum lies at the northern end of the complex, just inside the entrance closest to the Volkstheater subway station.
If you go into the MQ via the main entrance, turn right and walk past the imposing MUMOK building and through the passageway into the next courtyard. The AZW is immediately on your left, with additional exhibition space on the opposite side of the courtyard.
Address: Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna | Website