Karl Schwanzer Archive

The Karl Schwanzer Archive, one of the most extensive and valuable architectural estates of the 20th century in Austria, became a part of the Wien Museum collection in 2018.

The importance of Karl Schwanzer in Austrian architecture after 1945 cannot be overstated: thanks to his insatiable curiosity, he was one of the first to seek contact with international modernism following the intellectual isolation of the war. He planned and built in Europe, Asia and North and South America. As a professor at the Technical University in Vienna, he shaped an entire generation of architects through his unconventional approach to teaching.

“Entscheidung zur Form” (Decision on Form) is one of Schwanzer's numerous publications - he advocated functionally based architecture that also embodied a high aesthetic and social significance. His buildings therefore follow no scheme - yet they were always developed precisely on the basis of their respective purpose.


The material value of the Karl Schwanzer Archive is high; its value in ideal terms is immeasurable. This unique documentation of architectural, cultural and contemporary history spans from 1947 to 1975. Its impressive scope can best be expressed in figures: approximately 7,000 plans for around 170 projects; 10,000 photographs; more than 6,000 slides, 22 film cans; 1,382 files; around 400 books and magazines; 16,772 microfilm cards, numerous models and a vast collection of furniture.

Thanks to the initiative of his two sons, the estate of Karl Schwanzer was able to be transferred to the Wien Museum in an exemplary manner. This was essential for integration into the museum’s collection. After its scholarly appraisal and museological analysis and development, the Karl Schwanzer Archive will be open to anyone interested in exploring it. In addition to a large exhibition, also a comprehensive digital presentation is being prepared. Until then, you will find information on Karl Schwanzer and materials from the archive on this page.


Read the Karl Schwanzer publikation online

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