U2xU5 Architecture

Built to last forever

Transport structures present architects with planning challenges, but this is also what makes them particularly enticing. After all, new underground lines are not built every day and they shape the image of a city for decades. It is important to strike a balance between timeless aesthetics and functionality to ensure that passengers feel comfortable at the stations for a long period of time. Since construction work began on the underground network, Vienna has set store by a standard design, in addition to colours, for the lines, to make orientation easier – all stations on the same line should have the same appearance.

U5: Modern design re-interprets Vienna’s underground tradition

33 architects from across Europe responded to Wiener Linien’s invitation to submit proposals for the design of the U5. A working group comprising the young Viennese architectural office ‘YF Architekten’ and ‘Franz Architekten’ were able to win over the international jury with their proposal.

The U5 line’s design is a contemporary interpretation and further development of the well-known and proven basic design of Vienna’s underground network originating in the 1970s. The design concept is minimalistic and, at the same time, elegant. By using fewer materials, the focus of attention is directed to that which is important. Overall, the modern, bright and friendly design enhances the comfort factor and, thus, the perception of safety among passengers.

U2: The name is the programme

Two architects with two different design proposals won the second architecture competition in the history of the Vienna underground, following the one for the construction of the basic network. Together they shaped the violet line.

Paul Katzenberger is responsible for the aboveground stations, while the underground stations were designed by Gerhard Moßburger. The new stations will also follow this concept.

Back to the future

In the multimedia magazine ‘Gebaut für die Ewigkeit’ [Built to last forever], we present the winning project to you, along with all the submitted architectural designs for the U5. We also take a look back at the beginnings of Vienna’s underground architecture.

Published: February 19, 2021