EXHIBITION CENTER HEILIGENKREUZER HOF

The Heiligenkreuzer Hof (first district, Vienna, located between Grashofgasse 3 and Schönlaterngasse 5) dates back to a structure from the time of the Babenbergers. The building is first mentioned in written records as early as 1201, and again in 1242. Over the course of time, a number of individual courtyard buildings merged. There is solid evidence of major alterations and additions between 1659 and 1676 (e.g. the courtyard inscription in 1678, or the chronogram over the portal to the courtyard in 1677); moreover, the entire site was remodelled in 1746 and the façade toward Schönlaterngasse redone in 1769-1771. Elements of the medieval structure are preserved over several floors in the northeastern part of the complex. Worthy of particular mention in this regard are the cellars with their remarkable and mighty cross-ribbed vaults from the 13th century, as well as other medieval spaces. Especially worth seeing on the estate – incidentally, its buildings were the first commercial apartment buildings in Vienna – is the garden wall with its sculptures from the workshop of GIULIANI from 1729.

The former PRELATE’S QUARTERS were rented by the Hochschule für angewandte Kunst in Wien (today the University of Applied Arts) beginning nearly 50 years ago. In spite of the extreme scarcity of space at the university, a reorganization in 1976 allowed for teaching to temporarily cease at the prelate’s quarters in order to have them fundamentally renovated and restored. The historic Empire style stoves were restored in University-own workshops and fitted with electric heating elements, the original parquet floors, the wood panelling, the intarsia doors, the skirting boards, etc., were renovated, the superb plasterwork was freed from numerous coats of paint and the original color washes restored. Finally, due to continued insistence, sample areas in all rooms of the prelate’s quarters were stripped of layers of paint. This revealed two layers of secco painting in the entry hall, five layers of secco painting in the refectory, one layer of secco painting from ca. 1820 in the adjacent intermediate space, and one layer of secco painting (in the style of Bergl) in the medallion room. The oldest secco layer in the entry hall (ca. 1730) and in the refectory (trompe l’oeil of ca. 1730; landscape depictions of ca.1660?) were revealed in full. The painted walls of the refectory still await restoration. Particularly noteworthy are a room with grotesques, veneered floors with fine woods, and murals, plus an interesting trompe l’oeil plasterwork ceiling in the banqueting hall from ca. 1830 – a rarity in Vienna. All door fittings were either restored or replaced according to the originals.

The structure of the BERNHARD CHAPEL follows the prelate’s quarters. Its building substance dates back to 1662 and 1730. The coats of arms and putti by Giovanni GIULIANI are from 1729. The splendid interior of the chapel is dominated by the ornamental ceiling fresco by Antonio TASSI. The high altar painting “Maria Appears Unto St. Bernhard” (1730) is by Martin ALTOMONTE, the figures of St. Leopold and St. Florian by G. GIULANI. The left side altar (St. Joseph with the baby Jesus) is from the Giuliani workshop and the right side altar (St. Anna instructing Maria) by G. Giuliani. Both date from 1732.