The Gasometers of Vienna

Who would have thought that massive gas storage tanks could one day define a city within a city and become tourist attractions and entertainment venues at the same time? Only in Vienna, in the suburban district of Simmering where ingenious architects built the Gasometers in the late 19th century. Basically made up of four cylindrical gas containers that stand 70 meters tall and have a storage capacity of about 90,000 cubic meters, the structures have served the city of Vienna by providing local gas for over 80 years. When it was built, the Gasometers were the biggest in Europe, a testament to the country’s innovative spirit and its economic progress. By 1978, they were declared a protected historic landmark.
Whilst it can be said that the Gasometers may have outlived their primary purpose when the country shifted from town and coal gas to natural gas in 1984, the structures were not permanently retired. In the 1990s, a call was made for the remodeling of the tanks and an architectural competition was conducted. After the contest, four well-known Austrian architects were awarded the task of re-inventing the Gasometers with a budget of 150 million euros: Wilhelm Holzbauer, Wolf Prix/Coop Himmelblau, Manfred Wehdorn and Jean Nouvel. The tanks were identified by letters and when the project was completed by 2001, each one had spaces for residential, business and commercial purposes.
The Gasometer City (as it is now known) today is home to about 1,500 residents and features facilities such as a student dormitory, a multiplex cinema, art galleries, a massive events venue that can hold about 4,000 people along with numerous shops and restaurants.

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