Contemporary architecture in a historic setting

Generali Foundation, Foyer © Generali Foundation. Foto © Margherita Spiluttini

Generali Foundation, Ausstellungshalle © Generali Foundation. Foto © Margherita Spiluttini

Generali Foundation, Ausstellungshalle © Generali Foundation. Foto © Margherita Spiluttini

Generali Foundation, kleine Ausstellungshalle © Generali Foundation. Foto © Margherita Spiluttini

Generali Foundation Wiedner Hauptstraße (1995-2014)


The Generali Foundation’s home, which was inaugurated in 1995, has a total floor space of 2,000 sq m (ca. 22,000 sq ft). It is located on premises formerly occupied by Habig Milliners in central Vienna, near other major art institutions such as the MuseumsQuartier, the Secession, and the Albertina. In the substantial historic core, the architects have created a modern building that meets the aesthetic as well as technical challenges of a contemporary exhibition and museum operation. The building was designed by Christian Jabornegg and András Pálffy in collaboration with Georg Schönfeld; the interior architecture is the work of Jabornegg and Pálffy alone.


The exhibition space features unobtrusive allusions to postmodern eclecticism by working with asymmetries and reflecting the white cube while also offering reminders of the original industrial architecture. A dynamic resonance builds between the space and the Generali Foundation’s exhibition program, which emphasizes Conceptual art. The asymmetrical floor plan and elements dominating the space such as the thirty-meter (hundred-foot) concrete wall define the exhibition display and pose a productive challenge to the work of the curators and the exhibition design.


The primary architectural intervention consists of a linear constructive element that helps distribute new static loads, subdivides the exhibition floor into differently lighted areas dedicated to various purposes, and masks undesirably cramped corners. All structurally necessary new elements have been realized in sharply edged concrete volumes; the irregular surfaces of the original building are covered with plaster. Light enters through the roof, the only exterior surface of the building, which is embedded in a medium-scale commercial compound typical of the area.


Divided into three areas, the exhibition space with a total space of 900 sq m (9,700 sq ft) is located on a single ground-level floor and illuminated by daylight and artificial lighting. The underground facilities include a generous depot for the collection and the workshops. The upper floors house the administrative offices and the publicly accessible Study Center with our library and media library.


Total floor space, Generali Foundation 2,000 sq m / 21,500 sq ft

Exhibition space (ground floor) 900 sq m / 9,700 sq ft

Administration and Study Center (1st floor) 160 sq m / 1,700 sq ft

Administration (5th floor) 180 sq m / 1,900 sq ft

Underground storage, workshops (basement) 760 sq m / 8,200 sq ft