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St. Leopold am Steinhof
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Architect Otto Wagner
Location Vienna, Austria   map
Date 1905 to 1907   timeline
Style mixture of Classicism, Romanesque, Greek Orthodoxy, Arts and Crafts






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Discussion St. Leopold am Steinhof Commentary

“Otto Wagner’s church on the Steinhof seems to throw us back to the previous century. Indeed, designed in 1902, it is, on closer examination, very much a creation of its time—not so far removed from D’Aronco’s Turin pavilion of 1902. But everything else is here too—the debt to Classicism, the flirtation with Romanesque, a sniff of Greek Orthodoxy and rudiments of Arts and Crafts. One of the most fascinating hybrids of the era, it is also one of Wagner’s most inspired designs.”

— Dennis Sharp. Twentieth Century Architecture: a Visual History. p31.

“Of approximately the same date as his Post Office Savings Bank, Wagner’s St. Leopold thereby terminating the main axis of his Lupus Sanitorium which was afterwards realized on the slope below in 1909. Inasmuch as this was the most honorific work that he ever built, the Am Steinhof Church may be seen as the culmination of Wagner’s ‘neo-classical’ manner, as set forth in his book Moderne Architektur of 1895. While a church could hardly have been regarded as new programme, Wagner approached its form in an entirely new way, rendering its massive masonry as though it were the outer cladding of a lightweight metal structure. As in the Savings Bank, one encounters an external finish consisting of thin sheets of sterzing marble held in place by metal rivets and once again Othmar Schimkowitz’s metal angels, wreaths and acroteria are used to ornament and stress the salient features of the form. This time, however, the metalwork is copper or copper-plated iron, rather than aluminum; the radial ribwork, the cupola and the cross all being verdigris picked out in gold against the verdigris of the dome.…While it has none of the prophetic tone of the Post Office banking hall, the Am Steinhof Church interior is clearly the most spectacular building of Wagner’s career; its flattened Soanesque ‘false’ vault standing in surprising contrast to the high, iron framed and timber clad dome springing over the crossing above. Where the one served to intensify the black, white and gold revetment of the inner space, the other signalled its tradition silhouette across the profile of the valley.”

— from Kenneth Frampton and Yukio Futagawa. Modern Architecture 1851-1945. p137.

Sources on St. Leopold am Steinhof

Roger H. Clark and Michael Pause. Precedents in Architecture. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1985. diagram, p173. — Updated edition available at Amazon.com

Edward R. Ford. The Details of Modern Architecture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, 1990. ISBN 0-262-06121-X. LC 89-31772. NA2840.F67 1989. drawing of wall section detail, p214.

Yukio Futagawa, ed. GA Architecture: Otto Wagner. Text by Hans Hollein. Tokyo: A.D.A. EDITA Tokyo, 1978. photo of interior towards the altar, p19. photo of exterior, p9.



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