MuseumsQuartier Wien - The Largest Cultural Project in the History of the Republic of Austria
The MuseumsQuartier Wien, one of the ten largest cultural complexes in the world, offers more than 50 facilities for modern and contemporary art and culture in 60,000 square meters of space. Located in the direct vicinity of Vienna's most popular attractions, it is an oasis of culture and recreation in the middle of the city with an enormous interior courtyard, restaurants and cafÈs with outdoor seating, and shops. Historic buildings from the 18th and 19th century and the longest Baroque facade in Vienna form a unique architectonic ensemble together with contemporary museum architecture.
The MQ is a place of variety offering visual and performing art, architecture, music, fashion, theater, new media, and children's culture. It is a place for renowned museums and exhibition halls, small cultural initiatives, classics of modernism, works by young artists from the new century, music picnics in the 10,000 square foot interior courtyard, and expert discussions in cultural offices.
The spectrum of facilities and events in the MQ Wien ranges from major art museums like the Leopold Museum with the world's largest collection of works by Egon Schiele and the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (MUMOK) to exhibition halls for contemporary art like the KUNSTHALLE wien and festivals like the Vienna Festival and ImPulsTanz. It also features a center for contemporary dance (Tanzquartier Wien), the Architekturzentrum Wien, and outstanding art and cultural facilities for children (ZOOM Kindermuseum, wienXtra-kinderinfo, and Theaterhaus f¸r Kinder). Since September 2002, it has additionally offered an area called quartier21 with 30 more cultural providers focusing on electronic art and media and cultural exchange and studios for an international artist-in-residence program. Terrace cafÈs, bars, shops, bookstores, and quiet zones provide for a comprehensive selection of services and recreational activities in the middle of a spectacular cultural environment.
Focal Point of a Cultural District
The MQ is also an ideal starting point for a wide variety of activities in the center of Vienna. Some of the most famous cultural attractions Austria has to offer are in the immediate vicinity: the Secession, the Vienna State Opera, the Musikverein, the K¸nstlerhaus, the Volkstheater, the Kunsthistorisches Museum, and the Naturhistorisches Museum. Contemporary galleries, Viennese cafÈs, the international restaurant and bar scene of the Spittelberg quarter, and Vienna's longest shopping street (Mariahilfer Strasse) are all within walking distance of the MQ. Newly created passageways, arcades, and plazas in and around the MQ open up entirely new perspectives of Vienna's cityscape for cultural tourists and the local population alike.
The MQ Architecture: A Built Vision
Today's MuseumsQuartier is built on a site that witnessed an eventful past. Almost three hundred years have gone by between the construction of the imperial stables at the beginning of the 18th century, their later use as a venue for trade fairs and exhibits, and the official opening of the MuseumsQuartier in 2001. The construction history is characterized by interruptions and expansions. The old buildings, which at first sight appear homogeneous, originate from various construction phases. It was not only the conversion to the MuseumsQuartier that brought new buildings to the complex, although the most recent additions certainly define the appearance of the MQ most distinctly. In designing the MuseumsQuartier, Ortner&Ortner, an Austrian architectural firm that is currently also attracting attention with projects in Zurich, Dresden, and Berlin, realized a spectacular solution in combining the existing historic buildings with contemporary architecture. Manfred Wehdorn was responsible for the careful adaptation of the landmarked buildings in the construction of the MuseumsQuartier.
special thanks to Anita Resch for providing this text