From the Postal Savings Bank to Post-Modernism

Wed, 30.05.2018–Sun, 30.09.2018

MAK Exhibition Hall

To mark the 100th anniversary of the death of Otto Wagner (1841–1918) the MAK exhibition POST-OTTO WAGNER: From the Postal Savings Bank to Post-Modernism investigates Wagner’s role as the “Father of Modernism” and points out not only the context and the interaction between Wagner and other protagonists of early Modernism, but also the influence his epochal work had on his contemporaries, students, and following generations of architects and designers. 

Starting with Wagner’s most important works—for example the building for the Vienna Metropolitan Railway (1894–1900), the regulation of the Danube Canal (from 1894), the Imperial Royal Austrian Postal Savings Bank (1903–1910) and the church St. Leopold am Steinhof (1902–1904), as well as residential and commercial buildings and his study Die Großstadt [The Metropolis] (1911)—subject areas are presented in a way which makes it possible to easily understand Wagner’s long-lasting effect on the architecture from Modernism to Post-Modernism and on to the present.

In three chapters, the exhibition approaches Wagner’s legacy. In doing so it illustrates the architect’s rejection of the language of form found in Historicism as well as his influence on modern architecture and urban planning. The development of the metropolis in and around 1900 also made new building types necessary: In Vienna this included the modern residential and commercial buildings as well as department stores and hotels, which, as a result of Otto Wagner’s rejection of Historicism in favor of new possibilities for building, had to position themselves, and which represent a widely spread architectural type still today.

Earlier than others Wagner recognized the increasing importance of technology and engineering which manifested itself in new constructions and working materials. Consequently, he postulated a so-called “Nutzstil” [Functional style] whose forms should result from the materials, constructions, and functions. Through this break with the aesthetics of Historicism and prevailing architectural styles Wagner became a leading figure of Viennese Modernism. After 1900, under the strong influence of architects like Josef Hoffmann, Joseph Maria Olbrich, Josef Plečnik, Max Fabiani, or also István Medgyaszay, Jan Kotěra, and Pavel Janák, the Wagner School became a type of laboratory for style pluralism and individualistic approaches to style, aspects which were once again topical in Post-Modernism.

The exhibition is accompanied by the publication POST-OTTO WAGNER: From the Postal Savings Bank to Post-Modernism by Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Iris Meder, and Ákos Moravánszky, edited by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein and Sebastian Hackenschmidt. German/English, ca. 300 pages with numerous color illustrations. MAK/Birkhäuser Verlag, Vienna 2018. Available as of the end of June at the MAK Design Shop and at MAKdesignshop.at.

Sebastian Hackenschmidt, Curator, MAK Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Expert Advisors
Iris Meder, Architectural historian and freelance curator
Ákos Moravánszky, Professor emer. of architectural theory, ETH Zurich

Guided Tours

Exhibition Tours
Every Sat, 2 p.m.

Dialogue Tour
Tue, 5.6.2018, 6 p.m.
Curator Sebastian Hackenschmidt in conversation with Ákos Moravánsky, expert advisor of the exhibition
Tue, 11.9.2018, 6 p.m.
Curator Sebastian Hackenschmidt in conversation with Claudia Cavallar, exhibition design
Wed, 19.09.2018, 3.00 pm registration no longer possible
POST-OTTO WAGNER: From the Postal Savings Bank to Post-Modernism
Guided tour through the exhibition followed by further discussion at the restaurant Salonplafond im MAK.  

Architecture Walks

Short guided tour through the exhibition at the MAK, followed by a expert-guided walk in Vienna's urban space.
Sun, 24.06.2018, 2.00 pm - 4.30 pm registration no longer possible
“Wagner’s Tracks: Along the Wienzeile”
with Claudia Cavallar, exhibition designer and architect, and Maria Welzig, architecture historian
Price: € 28 or € 26 for MAK Annual Ticket holders

Sun, 23.09.2018, 2.00 pm - 4.30 pm fully booked
“On the Ringstraße of the Proletariat”
with Maria Welzig, architecture historian
Price: € 28 or € 26 for MAK Annual Ticket holders

Sun, 09.09.2018, 2.00 pm - 4.30 pm registration no longer possible
„Communication Facades“
with Claudia Cavallar, exhibition designer and architect 
Price: € 28 or € 26 for MAK Annual Ticket holders


Fri, 07.09.2018, 5.00 pm registration no longer possible
Sun, 16.09.2018, 2.00 pm registration no longer possible
To the Austrian Postal Savings Bank with Anne Marie Gusmik, formerly PSK Vienna
After a short guided tour through the exhibition in the MAK we will visit the Imperial Royal Austrian Postal Savings Bank, one of Otto Wagner’s most important works. Anne Marie Gusmik, long-time employee of the present PSK (Postal Savings Bank) gives us very special insights into the building. In addition to the Entrance Hall and the Banking Hall, we will see other rooms, such as the Manager’s Stairway and the originally furnished Manager’s Offices, which are usually not open to the public. Furthermore, a special glimpse of the Banking Hall from above, as well as of the glass floors in the post office underneath the Banking Hall is also granted.

Meeting point: MAK Ticket Desk, Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna
Total price: € 28 or € 26 for MAK Annual Ticket holders

Program for Kids and Families

Sun, 17.06.2018, 11.00 am registration no longer possible
When is something modern?
Guided tour for the whole family (ages 4 and older)
Sat, 09.06.2018, 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm registration no longer possible
Sat, 08.09.2018, 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm registration no longer possible
This time Otto lies in the detail
Workshop and guided tour for the whole family (ages 4 and older)
MAK Design Kids
Sat, 01.09.2018, 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm registration no longer possible
Sat, 15.09.2018, 2.00 pm - 4.00 pm registration no longer possible
Otto everywhere!— Looking for clues with Anton R. Stein, freelance architect in Vienna
Workshop for 8- to 12-year-olds (unaccompanied)
MINI MAK Summer Vacation Activities
Tue, 3. – Fri, 6. July and Tue, 10. – Fri, 13. July 2018, 10:15 a.m.–12:30 noon
In collaboration with wienXtra
For children aged from 6 to 10 and 10 to 13 >>

WAGNER:WERK Museum Postal Savings Bank

With support from the BAWAG P.S.K. and SIGNA the Postal Savings Bank, as one of Otto Wagner’s main works, could be included as a real building in the exhibition. Visitors to the MAK can enjoy free admission to the exhibition at the WAGNER:WERK Postal Savings Bank Museum—reopened on occasion of the MAK exhibition and with additional curation by the MAK—from Monday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. WAGNER:WERK Museum Postsparkasse, Georg-Coch-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna

Blog Post

Tip: With your MAK-ticket you receive reduced admission to the exhibition Otto Wagner in the Wien Museum (15 Mar – 7 Oct 2018), an to the exhibition Wagner, Hoffmann, Loos und das Möbeldesign der Wiener Moderne (till 7.10.2018) at the Hofmobiliendepot

Kindly supported by

Media partner

For his generous support we would like to thank
Richard Grubman

The exhibition is realized with financial support from the European Regional Development Fund, and is part of the project “Bilaterale Designnetzwerke” within the framework of the programme INTERREG V-A Austria – Czech Republic. 


Opening Hours

Tue 10 a.m.–10 p.m.
Wed–Sun 10 a.m.–6 p.m.
Mon closed


€ 12 / reduced € 10
Free Admission for children and teens under 19
Tuesdays 6–10 p.m. admission € 5
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How to Get There

Stubenring 5, 1010 Vienna
Underground U3 to Stubentor, U4 to Landstraße/Bahnhof Wien Mitte.
Tram 2, busses 3A and 74A to Stubentor

Barrier Free Accessibility

Lift at the entrance at Weiskirchnerstraße 1, wheelchair accessible bathrooms available
Stair lift to the Permanent Collection Contemporary Art




From the Postal Savings Bank to Post-Modernism
Wed, 30.05.2018–Sun, 30.09.2018
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Wed, 24.10.2018–Sun, 31.03.2019
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Permanent Collection

MAK Permanent Collection Vienna 1900

Design / Arts and Crafts 1890-1938

MAK – Austrian Museum of Applied Arts / Contemporary Art

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MAK Collection

Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Curator: Sebastian Hackenschmidt
The MAK is home to an extensive collection of furniture and woodwork, in light of which the artistic and stylistic tendencies of furniture history—with a focus on Austria and Vienna—can be understood along with the cultural-historical and political developments of the past nearly 150 years. The collection encompasses over 4,600 objects ranging from small carvings and ornamental boxes to massive cabinets and whole room interiors.
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