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Behind the construction fences: Wien Museum

The Wien Museum houses precious treasures from thousands of years of history. PORR is adapting it for the future. Overall project manager Stefan Posch about the ambitious building project.
author: Stefan Posch

Let’s go back to 1959. The US gained the two new states of Alaska and Hawaii. The first Barbie doll was presented in New York, and the Guggenheim Museum opened its doors. Not to be outdone, the Austrian capital also opened an important cultural facility: the Wien Museum. Now, 60 years later, those doors are closing again, as the heritage-listed building on Karlsplatz undergoes renovation and expansion works carried out by us – the Wien Museum consortium of PORR, ORTNER, and ELIN.

A building balancing act

Our demolition works are clearing the way for the structural reinforcement of the existing four-storey building. Plans call for a significant increase in the floor area of the basement, underneath the future museum forecourt, and two of the upper floors. The existing structure could not bear any more load, so a unique construction had to be erected. In the inner courtyard, we have created a four-storey atrium on 43 bored piles to support the rest of the building. The top floor was then built on top of this, which consists of a steel framework weighing around 1,100t with a unique cantilever. Exposed concrete elements made of white concrete, suspended on top of this and elaborately produced, form the contour of the extension floating above the existing building. A surrounding glass facade creates an interstitial floor with self-tinting electrochromic glass panels. The recess provided by this feature houses a spacious terrace overlooking Karlsplatz. In the atrium itself, the suspended staircase in exposed concrete presented us with great challenges. This is only structurally anchored to the topmost building ceiling and stood exclusively on formwork constructions during its construction.

We are building history
(c) PORR

Total commitment

In the future permanent exhibition area, clay construction sheeting with climate rendering is being installed to create facing formwork cladding.Approvals are currently being sought from the Austrian Federal Monuments Office for a terrazzo floor covering, restored window elements, and the structural reinforcement of existing railings. The interior finishing work is currently being carried out throughout the building. The best part of this project, and my job in general, is the team spirit. We are wholeheartedly committed to achieving our goals. So it’s no surprise that we are operating well within our tight time frame, with completion scheduled for March 2023.

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