Wienerberg: Park & Business Hub in Vienna
From many parts of Vienna, you can see a cluster of office towers (no real sky-scrapers in the strict sense of the word, but as close as it gets to sky-scrapers in a provincial village like Vienna) in the district of Favoriten. This is the Wienerberg City, which marks a neighbourhood that is rather bearable, at least for Favoriten. Once upon a time, the Wienerberg was a village outside of Vienna. The Romans were the first who discovered clay deposits in this area and started to produce bricks.
This was continued throughout centuries, but only under the rule of Empress Maria Theresia in 1775, the first modern (or at least fairly modern) brick manufactory opened in Wienerberg. Until then, the Wienerberg was synonymous with Vienna′s oldest execution site - which was somewhere near the "Spinnerin am Kreuz", a sort of Gothic shrine. I tell the story about the Spinnerin am Kreuz in my article about Favoriten.
Back to the Wienerberg: Once large-scale brick production had kicked in, the village developed very quickly. Throughout the 19th century, the economic boom of the Gründerzeit fuelled the brick production and attracted many job-seekers from all over the Empire. Huge brick buildings like the Arsenal or the Rossauer Kaserne barracks were built from Wienerberg bricks.
Wienerberg Bricks as an Icon of the Empire
The Imperial seal of the brick manufactories became an icon for the economic power of the - now improved and industrialised - Habsburg Empire. The brick production survived the collapse of the Empire in 1919 and outlived it by decades. Only in 1960, the deposits were exploited to an extent that further brick production was too expensive.
The brick company "Wienerberger", however, kept expanding. It is one of Austria′s grand success stories and a global player in the building industries. Since it purchased brick factories in China after 2007, it became the world′s biggest brick company. The Wienerberg area, however, was turned into a mess after the factories had closed their local branches. The clay mining had left huge holes that filled with water.
The area was first used as a landfill for rubble. In the late 1970ies, it had become so disgusting, that Vienna′s officials tried to re-vive it. They held an architectural competition for buildings and landscape modelling. This resulted in a development that transformed most of the former mining areas into a large park: 117 hectares, of which 90 hectares are a nature reserve (since 1995) and 16 hectares are water surface. It is a surprisingly pleasant area with faunistic sensations like Austria′s only native species of turtle.
Business Park & Nature Reserve: Wienerberg today
The business park of the Wienerberg is an even more recent addition to Vienna. It was started in 1999 and the first tower was opened in 2001: The "Vienna Twin Towers" by Massimiliano Fuksas. Other buildings are a combination of commercial and residential towers and include towers with extravagant names: Delugan-Meissl Tower; Coop-Himmelb(l)au Tower; or Monte-Verde Tower.
The most fascinating thing about the Wienerberg City is, in my opinion, how far you view reaches from there: You can see not only the Leopoldsberg and the outskirts of the Wienerwald, but also far into the South of Vienna, including Mödling and the area beyond Laxenburg.
However, the Wienerberg is most popular for its recreational value: There is a designated area, where dogs can take a poo without being mocked at (I think it is called "Vienna"), ponds and small lakes where people swim, and sports grounds. Attractions nearby include… joke, it is still Favoriten, remember?
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Vienna by District
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