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Main entrance to the MuseumsQuartier (2014)
Inner courtyard of the MuseumsQuartier (2010)

The MuseumsQuartier, MQ for short , is an area in the 7th district of Vienna , new building , near the center of the city. The offer ranges from the visual and performing arts , architecture , music , fashion , theater , dance , literature and children's culture to the new media . At the time of its completion, it was the eighth largest cultural area in the world. Prominent components are the Mumok , the Leopold Museum and the Kunsthalle Wien .

Seen from the Ringstrasse, the MuseumsQuartier is located on the other side of Maria-Theresien-Platz with the Museum of Art History and the Museum of Natural History , on the so-called Zweierlinie and on Mariahilfer Strasse .

The Hofburg with its museums is connected to the Ringstrasse . The Volkstheater on Arthur-Schnitzler- Platz is a neighbor of the MQ . The historic building of the former court stables from the 18th and 19th centuries is integrated into the MQ, the outer facade of the MQ is the longest baroque facade in the Austrian capital.

The buildings laid out in 1725 as imperial stables were converted into the trade fair palace in 1922 and adapted accordingly. In April 1998, the conversion to the MQ began, which was opened three years later in two stages (June and September 2001). The original, baroque buildings of the complex are contrasted with the modern architecture of the new museum buildings.


Court stables

The court stables around 1720, engraving after Salomon Kleiner

Today's main and entrance building of the MuseumsQuartier was originally built for the imperial stables . In 1713, Emperor Charles VI. a contract to construct a Hofstallgebäudes before the exterior castle gate on Wiener glacis to Fischer von Erlach granted. After his death in 1725, the building was completed by his son Joseph Emanuel , but not to the extent of the original design.

In the following years there were numerous conversions and additions, including a. under Franz Joseph I : 1850–1854 the winter riding school was built in the classical style (today hall E + G). Empress Elisabeth had an octagonal riding hall built in the Sattlerhof in 1874. Today it houses the library of the Vienna Architecture Center .

After the end of the First World War and the establishment of the Republic of Austria , the court stables lost their former purpose. Much of the inventory was auctioned.


In 1921 the area was used for trade fair and exhibition purposes for the first time and was subsequently converted into the trade fair palace and also renamed. A large hall was built behind the winter riding arena. The fair was run by a city-owned company.

1940–1945 propaganda events of the Nazi regime took place in the Messepalast . In 1946 the Wiener Messe resumed its activities here. Two large halls were subsequently built in the main courtyard. There were conversions and additions until the 1960s.


Main entrance (2006)

In 1983 the concept for a cultural forum was commissioned. In 1985, the Messepalast was the first venue for the Vienna Festival , which soon found its main venue there. In the years 1980 to 1986 an intensive discussion arose about the more appropriate use.

In 1986 the first stage of an architecture competition was announced. For the second stage, Dieter Bogner and Dietmar Steiner developed a completely new concept in terms of content and urbanism. The competition took place in 1989/90. The concept was based on the Center Pompidou in Paris as a model for content - not architecture . Starting from a museum for modern art , facilities for new media, film, video and computer art , a multimedia library were available. In addition, space should be created for other contemporary cultural institutions: Kunsthalle Wien, children's museum, architecture center, etc.

As a result, a two-stage competition was held in which a total of 88 projects were submitted. In the first stage, seven equal prizes were awarded. In the second stage, the project by architects Ortner & Ortner ( Laurids Ortner and Manfred Ortner ) (which has since been greatly modified) won through a unanimous jury decision.

The original plan included two towers (one slender with an elliptical floor plan for the library and one cylindrical for offices). As a result, there were fierce public debates for years, especially about the height of the new structure and about the so-called reading tower , a narrow high-rise that was to become the landmark of the museum complex. In 1990 a citizens' initiative was formed against the planned project. Among other things, more than 140 well-known art historians and architects protested against the project in 1993, including the builder of the Louvre pyramid, Ieoh Ming Pei , and Sir Ernst Gombrich .

The Federal Ministry of Science and Research (75%) and the City of Vienna (25%) founded the Museumsquartier-Errichtungs- und BetriebsgesmbH in November 1990. They appointed Günter Bischof and Dieter Bogner as managing directors on December 1, 1990. Bogner served until August 30, 1994. A court of auditors report published in 1995 criticized the fact that the company's owners often made important decisions for MQ development too late.

In October 1994, the then Mayor of Vienna, Helmut Zilk, decided against the construction of the reading tower . The project, which had been declared dead several times in the media in 1996, was subsequently redimensioned. After consulting the monument protection specialist Manfred Wehdorn , the new museum buildings were planned with natural stone facades and at a lower height instead of the initially planned transparent glass facades.

Construction began in April 1998. There was negative media coverage during the construction period when it became known that the expensive public building (the total cost of the renovation was around 150 million euros) had major accessibility deficiencies , which were then largely remedied. At the end of October 1999 this reduced variant received a positive decision from the Federal Monuments Office . The completion of what was then the eighth largest cultural area in the world took place in 2001. The opening took place on June 29, 2001.

MQ dragonfly

Main entrance (2006)

The MQ Libelle on the roof of the Leopold Museum in the MuseumsQuartier Wien is a work of art by the architects Laurids and Manfred Ortner (O&O Baukunst) completed in 2020 with permanent artistic interventions by Brigitte Kowanz and Eva Schlegel . It can be reached via two lifts on the outside of the Leopold Museum and is free for visitors. There is a gastro kiosk with a garden on the terrace. The MuseumsQuartier, which opened in 2011, is being expanded for the first time with the MQ Libelle. The MQ Libelle is a cultural area, viewing platform, resting place for visitors to the MuseumsQuartier Wien and an event location.

Operating company

The MuseumsQuartier is owned by the Republic of Austria (75%) and the City of Vienna (25%). The chairman of the supervisory board has been Wilhelmine Goldmann since 2008 ; Wolfgang Waldner was the managing director from 1999 until his appointment to the Austrian federal government in April 2011 . Daniela Enzi then led the MuseumsQuartier construction and operating company (MuseumsQuartier E&B GmbH) on an interim basis .

In August 2011, Christian Strasser , former head of the Linz Posthof , was introduced as the new managing director. His contract was extended from 2015 to 2021.

Todays use

MUMOK, the Museum of Modern Art with the courtyard furniture called
"Enzis" in front of it (red, 2006)
Night shot of the Leopold Museum (2014)
Jungle Vienna (2013)
Literature Festival O-Töne (2007)
Kunsthalle (2008)

The MuseumsQuartier has a total floor space of around 90,000 m². It houses 9 large cultural institutions as well as the creative space Q21 with approx. 60 other initiatives, festivals, artist groups and creative companies, which cover the fields of fine arts, literature, music, architecture, design, dance, theater, performance, fashion, indie game culture and new media , Children's culture and leisure culture.

The nine major cultural institutions are:

Leopold Museum

The Leopold Museum is a cuboid building designed by the architects Ortner & Ortner , which is clad on the outside with white shell limestone . Among other things, it houses the world's largest collection of pictures by the painter Egon Schiele . From 2014 to 2016, the Museumsquartier operating company installed the MQ-Libelle with a terrace and an external lift on the building.

Museum of Modern Art

The MUMOK (Museum of Modern Art), also designed by Ortner & Ortner , is a cubic building encased in volcanic rock, which was originally planned to be taller and whose floors under discussion were instead built as basement floors. The MUMOK is based on the Austrian Ludwig Foundation of the art collector couple Irene and Peter Ludwig , whose exhibits were previously on view in the 20er Haus and in the Palais Liechtenstein .

Kunsthalle Vienna

Right next to the historic winter riding arena is the Kunsthalle Wien with its two exhibition halls in which contemporary art is shown. The Kunsthalle Wien also has a location on Karlsplatz, which is also used for national and international contemporary art.

In addition to being used as a museum, the MuseumsQuartier has rooms available for events as part of the Wiener Festwochen, the Tanzquartier Wien and the Architekturzentrum Wien .

Public Netbase , an institution that deals critically with new technologies in the field of art and culture, was originally located in a wing of the MQ, but had to move out at the beginning of 2002 due to discrepancies with the MQ-Errichtungs- und Betriebs-GmbH.

The Q21

The office and laboratory of the art and theory group monochrom in Quartier 21 in the Museumsquartier (December 2018).

The Q21 extends over 7000 m² and offers work and presentation rooms for around 60 initiatives, artist groups, associations, festivals, galleries, publishers, think tanks and creative companies.

The tenants act autonomously, with the Q21 serving as an umbrella brand and a promotional communicator. Some of the tenants operate showrooms or offices on the ground floor of the Fischer-von-Erlach wing , which is open to the public daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Others curate the passages that connect the courtyards of the MQ. These artistically designed passageways can be understood as "outdoor micro-museums": with a changing program including accompanying publications on literature, typography , comics, street art and sound art . The majority of Q21 tenants and their offices are located on the upper floors, which you can get to know on public tours. In the "Q21 showrooms" (formerly: "Electric Avenue") there are publicly accessible work and showrooms such as the EIKON showroom, the eSeL RECEPTION of Lorenz's art initiative "eSeL" Seidler or the office of the artist group monochrom .

The artist-in-residence program is a special funding instrument and key factor in establishing the Q21 .

The artist-in-residence program

The artist-in-residence program was initiated in 2002 when the Q21 was founded. There are 9 artist-in-residence studios with an integrated apartment on the area of ​​the MuseumsQuartier. Curators and artists from all over the world are invited to work on projects together. The Q21 provides a studio as well as a grant and supports the artists in communication. The scholarship holders come from the fields of digital culture , visual arts, photography, street art, game culture, film, fashion, design, literature, conceptual art, theory, sound art, comic art and media art, etc. and are primarily recommended by the approximately fifty Q21- Cultural initiatives invited. They live in one of the artist studios for around two months. The artist-in-residence program is used by around 100 people annually, so that more than 630 artists have been guests in the MuseumsQuartier since the program began.

The artist-in-residence program is operated by the MuseumsQuartier Errichtungs- und Betriebsgesellschaft in cooperation with several Q21 cultural institutions as well as with the ERSTE Foundation as main sponsor and the Austrian Foreign Ministry.

Further collaborations exist with the cultural section of the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs (writer-in-residence program with authors or since 2016 artists-in-residence from the Western Balkans region), the exchange program of " / ERSTE Foundation "and since 2016 with the Research Institute for Arts and Technology (RIAT). Both programs are intended to give guests from the Western Balkans the opportunity to network with the Austrian art and literature scene and to develop their work in a new context. Some of the artists-in-residence are represented with their work in the exhibition space of the Q21, frei_raum Q21 exhibition space.

frei_raum Q21 Exhibition Space

The frei-raum Q21 Exhibition Space is an exhibition space in the Fischer-von-Erlach wing of the MuseumsQuartier and, in its name, combines everything that can be said: barrier-free and free access, with works and concepts by Q21 artists. Since 2012, three group exhibitions on socially and socially critical topics have taken place there every year. External curators are invited for this. The exhibition space is accessible with free admission.

The themed passages

The area of ​​the MuseumsQuartier is accessed from all sides by passages. Elongated, baroque barrel vaults connect the individual courtyards with one another. Six passages are operated as micro-museums in cooperation with cultural initiatives and curators. In addition to the permanent ceiling designs, the passages are shown with changing exhibitions, which are designed by external curators.

The six passages are

Seasons focus

In the summer months and in the period between mid- November and Christmas there are seasons. During the winter in the MuseumsQuartier, mobile rooms will be set up in the main courtyard, which will be used by the area's restaurants. The campaigns for the respective focal points are designed in cooperation with international artists and illustrators . In the courtyards of the MuseumsQuartier, concerts in the fields of electronic music , popular music , classical music and jazz take place all year round.

In addition to the seasonal open-air programs , the area is also used for regular cultural events such as the O-Töne literary festival or concerts as part of the Vienna Jazz Festival .

MQ Amore

MQ Amore is a playable sculpture park on the forecourt of the MuseumsQuartier Wien. The sculpture park can be played according to the rules of mini golf . Next to the site there is a mobile pavilion where rackets and balls can be borrowed. The Vienna-based architect Daniel Sanwald took over the overall planning of the sculpture park. The basic motif is the flair of the Italian Riviera and the design language of the 1950s . The twelve works in the sculpture park are by Anastasia Yarovenko (at the suggestion of the Kunsthalle Wien), by the architectural duo heri + salli (at the suggestion of the Architekturzentrum Wien), by the architectural office feld 72 (at the suggestion of the Leopold Museum), by Bernd and Thomas Oppl (at the suggestion of the Q21) as well as by the artist duo Bildstein I Glatz (at the suggestion of the MuseumsQuartier establishment and operating company).

The yard furniture

During the summer months, modern seating furniture is set up in the courtyards of the MuseumsQuartier. The furniture is design objects and at the same time seating for visitors. The central courtyard of the MuseumsQuartier area has meanwhile developed into an urban recreational area. The popularity of Bobo's city living room , as Dietmar Steiner from the Architekturzentrum Wien once called the courtyard area, is due on the one hand to the catering establishments and on the other hand to the MuseumsQuartier courtyard furniture set up outside the individual local areas, called Enzis .

The Enzis are combinable multifunctional pieces of furniture that were designed by Anna Popelka and Georg Poduschka and are named after Daniela Enzi, who was responsible for the use of the courtyards.

Since the summer of 2010, there are in addition to the Enzis the Enzo : basic shape and dimensions of the furniture is the same, but they are more robust and are made of recyclable materials. They were designed in collaboration with the Enzi-s architectural team PPAG and the product designers Margarita Navarro and Ludwig Slezak .

It all began with an art project in 2002: after the opening of the MuseumsQuartier in June 2001, there was no seating in the courtyards apart from a few wooden benches and no artistic display. The Austrian artist Josef Trattner then designed huge foam objects for the area as part of an art project, which were immediately enthusiastically accepted by the visitors and, among other things, also used as seating. Due to the great success of the campaign, the MuseumsQuartier invited several teams of architects to design versatile seating furniture for the MuseumsQuartier Höfe. The idea of ​​the team of architects PPAG - Anna Popelka and Georg Poduschka - was convincing and the MQ courtyard furniture moved into the MuseumsQuartier for the first time in winter 2002 in the form of assembled igloos as part of the “Winter in the MQ” program. In 2003, the furniture was set up for the first time in summer and immediately enthusiastically accepted and used by visitors to relax or meet friends and has since become an integral part of the MuseumsQuartier.

MQ furniture has been presented in various colors since 2003: swimming pool blue (2003), light pink (2004), pistachio green (2005), happy bed red (2006), cream beige (2007), “almost austriaviolet” (2008), lemon yellow (2009), “Lush Meadow Green ”(2012–2012),“ Ivory tusk white ”(2012–2012),“ Strawberry Field Red ”(2012–2012) and“ Candy Shop Pink ”(2012–2012),“ Tröpferlbadblau ”(2013),“ Mermaid "(2015) and" Twinnigrün "(2017). The choice of color has been determined by online voting since 2008 by anyone interested in the MuseumsQuartier. In terms of design, there are now various furniture models: in addition to the original Enzi model , the Enzo variant is hollow compared to the previous version and, thanks to a completely different production method, even more robust and more resistant to damage. In contrast, the outer contour and size of the furniture have remained the same. In the summer of 2013, the design of the MuseumsQuartier furniture was further developed. The new Viena model generation is a further development of the previous MQ courtyard furniture, the open reinforcing struts have been dispensed with, a hole in the middle of the seat, through which the rainwater can also drain, provides the necessary stability and provides support for parasols. Back to the original shape of the Enzi , but made from the robust material of the Enzo .

In the meantime, MQ furniture has developed into a real trademark and is used by WienTourismus and Österreich Werbung as brand ambassadors for Vienna. At the same time, the furniture is also used for artistic projects: as part of the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), 40 pieces of the internationally known courtyard furniture were designed by 40 Austrian artists. The artists were assigned a country by lot, with which they would deal thematically when designing the MQ furniture. The joint campaign between ORF and the MuseumsQuartier was curated by the Leopold Museum, Kunsthalle Wien and mumok, who were responsible for selecting the artists.

As early as 2005, the courtyard furniture of the MuseumsQuartier Wien received the Adolf Loos State Prize for Design in the "Spatial Design" category, which was awarded for the first time. In 2007 the MQ seating was nominated for the State Design Prize of the Federal Republic of Germany for the first time.



  • Margaret Gottfried: The Vienna Imperial Forum. Utopias between the Hofburg and the Museumsquartier. Böhlau, Vienna 2001, ISBN 3-205-99196-6 .
  • Udo Badelt: More life for art. Der Tagesspiegel , October 20, 2009, accessed on October 22, 2009 : “Berlin's Museum Island offers world culture, but the public space could attract more visitors. This is the result of an independent study - as a counterexample, it cites Vienna's Museum Quarter. "
  • Monika De Frantz: Cultural Policy in Transition: Capital Symbolism in Vienna and Berlin . ÖZP - Austrian Journal of Political Science 3, 2006, pp. 237-253.
  • Monika De Frantz: From cultural regeneration to discursive governance: constructing the flagship of the 'Museumsquartier Vienna' as a plural symbol of change . International Journal for Urban and Regional Research 29, March 2005, pp. 50-66.

Web links

Commons : MuseumsQuartier  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Alfred Stalzer: On the history of the trade fair in Vienna.
  2. ^ Vg. Der Standard , May 6, 1993: Art historians against “hangover idea” Messepalast
  3. ^ 1995 Court of Auditors report
  4. Press release of the MuseumsQuartier Establishment and Operating Company : MuseumsQuartier Wien: The opening program starts on June 29, 2001 , November 3, 2000
  5. ^ Museumsquartier, press release: Interim management for MuseumsQuartier Wien , May 3, 2011
  6. Der Standard : Christian Strasser is the new head of the Museumsquartier , August 24, 2011
  7. Friedrich Rakuschan: Kampfplatz Museumsquartier from May 17, 2000 ( Memento from December 17, 2004 in the Internet Archive )
  8. Press release Q21, About us. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .
  10. Press release Q21 from January 26, 2016. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .
  11. Q21 and BMEIA open the West Balkans Artist-in-Residence Studio in the MuseumsQuartier Vienna, November 18, 2015. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .
  12. Information on cooperation between the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .
  13. Q21 - the creative space in the MuseumsQuartier Wien, exhibitions. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .
  14. Museumsquartier, About Us. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .
  15. ^ APA: Artistic mini golf in front of the museum quarter. The press, accessed August 22, 2017 .
  16. MQ Amore sculpture park opens on MQ forecourt, April 6, 2017, 11:43 am. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .
  17. ^ History of the Enzis. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .
  18. MuseumsQuartier: Loungers in "lemon ice yellow" ( Die Presse Online, April 16, 2009)
  19. State Prize for Hofmöblierung "Enzi" the MQ October 18, 2005, 15:35. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .
  20. ^ From Enzi to Viena - history and development of the MQ courtyard furniture. Retrieved August 22, 2017 .

Coordinates: 48 ° 12 ′ 12 ″  N , 16 ° 21 ′ 32 ″  E