|The Viennese gasometer|
|City :||Vienna - Simmering|
|Construction:||1896–1899 and around 1910|
|Reuse:||Entertainment center, apartments, dormitory and event hall|
|Type:||Low pressure gas tank|
|Construction:||4 cylindrical bell gas containers and 1 telescopic gas container|
|Height :||~ 70 m|
|Diameter :||~ 60 m|
|Usable volume :||4 × 90,000 + 1 × 150,000 m³|
since 1981 under monument protection standing
The gasometers in Vienna - Simmering are four former gas tanks from 1896 that have been preserved in the facade. They were revitalized in an extensive renovation from 1999 to 2001 and now have an entertainment center, several apartments, a student residence and an event hall. The gasometers were part of the Simmering gas works in order to compensate for fluctuations in supply in the Vienna gas network. They were technically designed as low-pressure storage for the town gas extracted from coal . The Simmering gasworks, along with the Leopoldau gasworks, was one of two municipal gasworks around the turn of the century. Originally there were 6 gas tanks. One of them was a so-called screw gas container.
The buildings have always been considered landmarks of the 11th Simmering district in Vienna, as they can be seen from afar due to their size. The Simmering gas works with the gasometers was in operation from 1899 to 1975. Since the revitalization, tourists from all parts of the world and architecture experts have also been visiting the gasometer.
As a result of decades of large-scale gasworks operation, underground pollution from phenols , hydrocarbons and cyanides was determined on the area and several parts of the area were recorded in 1996 as contaminated site W18 in the contaminated site register of the Federal Environment Agency.
The cylindrical bell gas containers, each with 90,000 cubic meters of gas volume, which stood in a water basin, were surrounded by a brick facade. The bell gasometers measure around 70 meters from street level to the top and about 60 meters in diameter. A fifth gasometer, decided by the municipal council in autumn 1908 and subsequently added, was designed as a telescopic gas container ; With a capacity of 150,000 m³, it was the largest gasometer in Simmering. It was located south of the four remaining buildings on an area that is now used as a sports field. Badly damaged by a bomb hit in 1945 and put back into operation on September 30, 1947, the structure was demolished in 1981.
The construction of the gasometer in Vienna's eleventh district of Simmering took place from 1896 to 1899 as part of the construction of the Simmering gas works. The manufacturer of the boiler structures was the Friedrich August Neuman company from Eschweiler . The Simmering gasworks was built on the so-called Bürgerspitalgrund, also known as the Große Spitalwiese, on which gardening centers and fields were located until then, as well as the primer factory of the liberal district head of Simmering, Georg Krepp. On March 15, 1897, construction began on the central furnace house, which comprised 1,620 retorts for coal gasification. 250 kg of coal per day could be converted per retort , thus generating a total of 432,000 m³ of town gas per day. The ceremonial opening of the gasworks including the consecration of all objects by Auxiliary Bishop Johann Baptist Schneider (1840–1905) took place on October 31, 1899, at midnight of that day the plant started operations and lit the lanterns on Ringstrasse for the first time with gas.
Before this time, the supply was made by the Imperial-Continental-Gas-Association (ICGA) based in England. After the contracts between the ICGA and the city of Vienna expired, the city decided to set up its own municipal gas supply. The gasworks was the time of the establishment of the largest of its kind in Europe . On January 7, 1904, the daily gas output exceeded 500,000 m³ for the first time. While the gas produced was initially used exclusively for lighting purposes, from 1910 onwards its use in private households (gas stoves, heating devices) expanded. In 1908, the construction of a fifth gas tank began (commissioned in autumn 1909). In 1911 the supply areas of the two remaining private gas companies were taken over. The growing demand made it necessary to switch to mechanical charging of the ovens with coal in 1912/13. In 1914 a coke processing plant with a capacity of 60 tons per hour went into operation. After the end of the First World War, the expansion continued. The focus was on a system for the extraction of sulfur, the construction of a new boiler house and the expansion of the central generator system. 1926–1928 five BBC steam turbine fans were installed. The new composite furnace system, which went into operation in 1935, was optionally heated with generator or town gas. After a new coke breaking and sorting plant was built in 1939 and the existing chamber furnace plant was expanded from 1940–43, the production of water gas had to be stopped on December 20, 1943 due to the war. Due to its importance in the war, the Simmering gas works and the gas containers were targeted several times by Allied bombers in 1944/45. The first major attack on the gas works took place on July 16. Around 1200 stick incendiary bombs fell on the factory premises. On October 17, 1944, top bombs fell again, and on December 11, 1944, incendiary bombs. In both attacks, the containers were also badly hit. With the first natural gas supply from Marchfeld on December 30, 1944, the production losses caused by the attacks could be partially compensated. On April 9, 1945, the Red Army occupied the plant during the battle for Vienna. From May 20, 1945 gas could be released for the first time. It took until 1948 before normal operations were fully restored. During the 1950s there were extensive further expansion steps. The conversion to natural gas supply with its storage in underground tanks made the old gas tanks superfluous, which is why they were shut down on May 11, 1966. The town gas has been detoxified since 1967. From 1968, the Simmering gas works and its gas tanks obtained natural gas from the Soviet Union. On December 17, 1968, the new screw container with a capacity of 300,000 cubic meters, the largest of its kind in Europe, was put into operation. In 1978 the brick containers were placed under monument protection as industrial monuments; in the 1980s, considerations began about a different use. The free-standing gas container V was shut down on October 14, 1980. 1980–1982 the gas container 5 was demolished. In 1985 gas container 2 was taken out of service. In 1986, gas containers 1, 3 and 4 were also decommissioned; the screw gas tank 6, also taken out of service in 1986, was dismantled in 1987. At the same time, a new central warehouse for the gas works was set up in Simmering. The history of gas production and storage at the Simmering site came to an end. One of the tanks was restored in 1988. In 1988 the gasometer served as an exhibition space for the exhibition “100 Years of Social Democracy”, and then also for some rave and techno events due to their architectural style, which produced a special sound.
The town gas, which was obtained through the so-called coal gasification in the furnace house from the dry distillation of hard coal and subsequent gas scrubbing in the washing house, was stored in the gasometers before it was released into the gas network for consumption . City gas is also known as coal gas, coke oven gas or coal gas , as it was initially used for street lighting by means of gas lamps on public roads. It was not until 1910 that it was used for cooking and heating in private homes.
In addition to the gasometers for gas storage, the Simmering gasworks consisted of the furnace house for coal gasification, the largest building in the plant with 18 centrally arranged and 35 m high chimneys, followed by buildings for coal gas cleaning with tar separators, ammonia and naphthalene washing plants as well as various operating and administrative buildings. 180 furnaces housed in the furnace house, each with nine inclined retorts and a free-standing inclined chamber furnace, were used to generate the raw gas. The separation of tar and ammonia from the raw gas took place in the cooler house; twelve exhaustors, driven by steam engines and installed in the gas suction house, were used to transport the town gas in the pipeline network . Coal gas production was operated until 1966, then cracked gas production until the gas works ended in 1975 .
After the conversion from town gas to natural gas in the mid-1970s - town gas is poisonous because of its high carbon monoxide content - the gasometers were shut down in 1984. Today, natural gas is stored in underground gas storage facilities or in spherical gas containers under high pressure with a significantly smaller volume than is possible in the large, voluminous telescopic gas containers . Since 1981, the gasometer and other parts of the building, such as the former administration building and the water tower that originally stood in front of the demolished furnace house, have been under monument protection .
Revitalization after shutdown as a gas tank
As the owner of the municipal gas works company, the municipality of Vienna committed itself to the conversion and revitalization of the listed buildings. In a time of brainstorming, exhibitions were held in the huge domed rooms, freed from their technical installations, such as the SPÖ 's centenary exhibition . Uses for museums, for example by the Vienna Technical Museum, were discussed, there were also Gazometer raves , and filming of the James Bond film The Living Daylights took place. From this time comes the name Gazometer , which stood for the raves within the Gasometer. Due to the cylindrical shape, the music inside the gasometer could be heard with a special echo effect, which made it well known in the raver scene. The musician Falco used both the inside and outside of the gasometer to record his music video for Coming Home (Jeanny Part II).
Search for overall usage concept
In 1995 competitions were held to find ideas for the conversion. There were developed concepts for use as a hotel and exhibition center (architect Manfred Wehdorn) for the planned but then canceled world exhibition in Vienna and Budapest . It was finally decided to realize a mixed use with living, working and entertainment consisting of the apartments, a student residence , offices, the shopping center and the cinema .
Start of work on the gasometers
The four architects Jean Nouvel , Coop Himmelb (l) au ( Wolf D. Prix ), Manfred Wehdorn and Wilhelm Holzbauer each worked on the redesign for one of the gasometers, which was realized from 1999 to 2001. The innards of the gasometer were removed during the revitalization - only the brick outer wall and the roof structure remained. SEG, GPA and Gesiba acted as property developers, selling some of the 600 apartments as condominiums and renting them out as cooperative apartments.
The construction costs amounted to 2.4 billion schillings , the equivalent of around 174 million euros . The City of Vienna contributed 310 million schillings (22.5 million euros) in the form of housing subsidies .
On September 30, 2001, the opening ceremony took place with the mayor present. The residents moved in as early as May 2001.
The building complex
The gasometers are characterized by a special village character. They stand on 220,000 m² as an independent city within the city. Due to the high level of identification of the approximately 1,500 residents of the Gasometer with their living space, a large residential community was formed, which exists both virtually in a Gasometer Community and in real life as an association and lived communal neighborhood. Numerous diploma theses and dissertations in the field of psychology, spatial planning and architecture as well as journalism were devoted to this phenomenon.
The nearby Praterau can be reached via the “Gaswerksteg” .
A 450-meter-long shopping center with a total of around 70 business premises (retail, restaurants) stretched through all four gasometers up to the extension "E", extending over three floors in gasometer A and just one or two floors in the others Occupies floors. There are underground car parks in the basement below the shopping center . All four gasometers are open at the top and the old roof structure gives them their old silhouette. They only have "wind deflectors".
A “Skywalk” (glass bridge), which is connected to the main corridor between gasometers “C” and “D” and crosses Guglgasse, leads to a building also belonging to the complex called the entertainment center or originally “Pleasuredome”. Inside there is a 12-screen cinema, which is operated by Kima Cinemas Vienna and the Hueber family and used by the Megaplex cinema group after the originally intended operator Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation went bankrupt. The entire public shopping and entertainment section of the complex was once called “G-town” , later “Gasometer City” , but is now known as “Music City” .
Since the shopping center, designed for 50,000 people, has only 1,500 Gasometer residents opposite and there are other shopping centers in the vicinity on Simmeringer and Landstraßer Hauptstrasse, the shops in the Gasometers have been fighting for customers since they opened. At the end of 2007, all of the business premises in the “E” extension and around a third of the business areas in the gasometers “A” to “D” were empty. The lack of real estate income from the gasometer construction, together with miscalculations for the Zaha Hadid construction on the Danube Canal, were the main reasons for the bankruptcy of the property developer SEG. According to a report from the Court of Auditors in 2011, only 50% of the general rent for the retail space was generated between 2007 and 2009.
After long-term plans for realignment, the classic shopping center concept was abandoned in 2012, the retail space was significantly reduced and all of them were concentrated in Gasometer A in the same year. There are now around 30 shops on three floors. In March 2011, eleven percent of the space was still available. The concept of the rest of the former area of the shopping center will now focus on music. Accordingly, the logo and advertising presence of the complex were changed from “Gasometer City” to “Music City”. Gasometer B was converted for this by spring 2013. The tenants here are now the Electronic Music Academy (EMA), the Jam Music Lab and the Vienna Pop Academy. In autumn 2014 the Performing Center Austria expanded into Gasometer Music City. Then 10 dance and 7 music studios opened in Gasometer C on 2,500 m². In 2010, a music shop opened in Gasometer D on 3,500 square meters and takes up almost the entire retail space.
In 2001, the French architect Jean Nouvel designed the apartment structure in this gasometer in a ring shape in 9 individual buildings, which cling to the envelope wall. In the 8 floors of the apartment, which only begin at a height of around 25 meters, there are around 120 apartments, which are divided into blocks of two. Between the 9 individual buildings there are gaps about the width of an apartment, which make the listed Gasometer facade visible with its high windows. As a result, also through the glass fronts of the apartments and the other mirrored walls, a high level of utilization of sunlight is achieved.
Under the apartments there are three office floors, 3 business floors of the shopping center and an underground car park. The underground station adjacent to Gasometer “A” is right in front of the main entrance of the shopping center. The second to fourth floors also contain office space that was previously owned by CEE Immobilien Development AG.
"Gasometer B" was planned by the Viennese architects " Coop Himmelb (l) au ". It is easily recognizable from the outside, as it has a shield-like extension - an 18-storey residential building. The former gas tank and the extension contain a total of 254 apartments. According to co-architect Wolf D. Prix , the “sign” is “the symbol for the new content of the gasometer. If the sign weren't there, you wouldn't even know that something new was created there. ”It is no coincidence that the event hall is housed in the gasometer designed by you, since“ Coop Himmelb (l) au ”“ always for I advocated mixed-use buildings, ”said Prix.
The 1,400 m² event hall can accommodate 4,200 people and is of particular importance for Vienna, as there has been a large gap between the Wiener Stadthalle , which can hold up to 16,000 visitors, and the other event locations with a maximum of 1,500 visitors (Halle Oberlaa) and music groups that the Stadthalle does not Capable of filling were too expensive for most smaller venues.
The apartments within the gasometer nestle against the walls of the gasometer in the form of a gapless circle and only allow a 20-meter-diameter light passage in the middle. The windows of the individual floors in the tower are lined up close together.
The lowest four to five floors of the living area in gasometer “B” are occupied by a student residence . On the total usable area of 5,850 m² there are 247 dormitories, which are accommodated in 73 different apartments (up to 115 m² apartments with 199 single rooms and 24 double rooms). There are numerous common rooms such as the club room, communal kitchen, fitness room, sauna area , rehearsal room and laundry room . The dormitory is operated by the GPA's “ Housing Association for Private Employees ” . In autumn 2006, an extension of the student residence was opened in the immediate vicinity of the gasometers, along with a Protestant private high school and senior citizens' home.
The Viennese architect Manfred Wehdorn , who aims for “simplicity” and yet maximum living comfort, rebuilt the Gasometer “C”. The 92 apartments with white façades, distributed over 6 floors, are stepped upwards, which means that the lower floors are more exposed to the sun. The apartments begin at a height of around 32 meters above street level. Between the residential floors and the shopping center, the office or the registered office of the mobile phone provider Hutchison Drei Austria was located on three floors until 2014 .
In the inner courtyard there is a large glass dome that allows the “main mall” below to shine through and provides sunlight. Around the dome there is a four meter wide strip of green on which trees have been planted. With the stepped inner courtyard, terraces and arbours were created, which are planted with flower beds and trees. Wehdorn wanted to realize the “green” concept of an arboretum here.
A public parking garage is located under the central corridor of the former shopping center.
The gasometer "D" designed by Wilhelm Holzbauer is the only gasometer that does not have a central courtyard, but is still the only one in which each of the 119 apartments has a small green area or at least a loggia . The residential tower in the center of the gasometer has the basic shape of a circle with three rectangular “arms”. Between these three equally sized “arms” there are three equally large green areas. Another reason for this form is “that people don't see each other in the apartments or they all have to look into the same courtyard,” as Holzbauer mentions.
Under the apartments, which begin at a height of 31 meters above Guglgasse, there are three floors above ground and three storey floors, where you will find the municipal department 8, the Vienna City and State Archives . The shopping areas can only be found here in a spur, as the central corridor of the shopping center between gasometers “C” and “D” has turned to the left into the annex “E”.
Awards and criticism
- Austrian builder award 2001
- The new “G-Town” or “Gasometer City” was advertised for its opening with great intensity in the electronic and print media, for example through numerous multi-page special supplements in newspapers. Nevertheless, there were also critical comments from the start. The problem of a sustainable upgrading of the residential area in a still industrial and commercial ambience appears to be unsolved to this day. The fate of the ailing, overly large shopping center is uncertain, despite the fact that it has now been reoriented towards the “Music City”. Compared to the change in use, as took place at the Panometer Dresden and Panometer Leipzig , the complete loss of all four of the huge domed rooms can also be noted.
- Extensive literature list
- Josef Dollinger: The Viennese municipal gas works . Wiener Städtische Gaswerke self-published, Vienna 1938.
- 50 years of the Vienna-Simmering large gas works . Wiener Städtische Gaswerke self-published, Vienna 1949.
- Robert Medek: 85 years of the Vienna-Simmering municipal gasworks. Municipal gas supply since 1899 . Wiener Stadtwerke-Gaswerke self-published, Vienna 1984.
- Alexander Sadlek, Thomas Guss: 100 years of Wiengas. 1899-1999 . Wiengas, Vienna 1999.
- The Viennese gasometer
- Gasometer City website
- Simmering gasworks: detailed historical plans, construction drawings and photos
- Website for residents and those interested
- Aerial photos of the gasometer from 2011, taken with a kite
- Walk of Stars
- Gasometer Community, shared apartment
- Photos and brief information about the renovation, architect Wehdorn
- Data refer to the four bell gas containers.
- Data refer to the telescopic gas container.
- site W18: Simmering gas works. Retrieved September 17, 2012 .
- Community affairs. The municipal gas works. In: Arbeiter-Zeitung , Morgenblatt, No. 62/1909 (XXI. Volume), March 3, 1909, p. 7 (column 3) f. (Online at ANNO ). .
- City of Vienna: General city 1912 .
- Vienna's largest Simmering gasometer. In: Wiener Zeitung , No. 228/1947 (CCXL. Volume), October 1, 1947, p. 3, column 3. (Online at ANNO ). .
- Gasworks Simmering 1901/1910 / 1933. Retrieved on September 17, 2012 .
- 1899 The first gas from Simmering. (No longer available online.) Archived from the original on December 1, 2012 ; Retrieved September 17, 2012 . Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.
- The new light. For the inauguration of the Vienna city gas works. In: Neuigkeits -Welt-Blatt , No. 250/1899 (XXVI. Volume), November 1, 1899, p. 25 ff. (Unpaginated). (Online at ANNO ). .
- The opening of the municipal gas works. In: Neue Freie Presse , Morgenblatt, No. 12642, November 1, 1899, p. 7, column 1. (Online at ANNO ). .
- http://www.format.at/articles/1209/525/320764/misswirtschaft-gasometer , from March 1, 2012
- http://derstandard.at/1329870054395/Gasometer-City-Fachgeschaefte-statt-Shoppingcenter , from February 22, 2012
- http://diepresse.com/home/panorama/wien/1391632/Neue-Tone-aus-dem-Gasometer_Gesang-statt-Shopping , from April 19, 2013
- http Bezirk.at/wien-11-simmering/chronik/nach-erffektreichem-jahr-2013-die-gasometer-city-bekom-ein-neues-logo-als-music-city-m5597186,794068 .html , accessed February 23, 2014
- http://www.performingcenter.at/sensationell-pca-seven-meets-pca-eleven , accessed on August 19, 2014
- See the ten-year review by Reinhard Seiß in the Wiener Zeitung of August 25, 2011 ( online version )
- Listed, for example, by Dieter Klein , Martin Kupf , Robert Schediwy : Stadtbildverluste Wien , Vienna 2004, especially pp. 69f, 302, 305, 318, 321, 323
- See Horst Christoph, news magazine "Profil" from March 31, 2007 (review of the book by Reinhard Seiß: Wer build Wien , available online)