1.         Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn (Austria) (C 786)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1996

Criteria  (i)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/786/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/786/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre / ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

High-rise construction project

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/786/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2009

At its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008), the World Heritage Committee expressed deep concern that the height of the new Kometgründe-Meidling structure would exceed the 60 metres agreed to by the State Party in June 2006, and requested the State Party to immediately halt the project and submit a visual impact study on the potential adverse impacts of the proposed structure on the integrity of the property and its Outstanding Universal Value for examination at its 33rd session in 2009.

The State Party submitted a report on 26 January 2009 noting that the "Kometgründe - Meidling" project is located outside the property and its buffer zone, and that in order to co-operate with the World HeritageCommittee and to comply with its request, the State Party had reduced the originally planned 120m height of the project by 50% to 60m. The State Party also noted that for architectural reasons, a part of the main building core is four stories higher than the other parts corresponding to a height of 73m. The State Party further notes that the adjusted project with a height of 60m and 73m respectively is not visible from Schönbrunn palace as such. There is just one small part of the park from where the project would be visible (Gloriette). This small part does, however, not make up more than 1.5 percent of the whole World Heritage. The State Party refutes a local NGO’s statement that parts of the proposed building would be planned as tall as 78m.

 

Concerning the World Heritage Committee’s request to immediately halt the project, the State Party report notes that the authorities had stopped the project following discussions at the 29th session of the World Heritage Committee (Durban, 2005). The State Party further notes that while “the Vienna City Council has, in the meantime, adopted the necessary legal regulations for the implementation of the adapted project”, the “project is far from being implemented” with implementation foreseen by 2013.

 

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS wish to point out that the State Party had agreed in June 2006 to limit the height of the new building project to a maximum of 60m and that building any part of this structure beyond the height of 60m would violate this commitment.

ICOMOS has previously noted that it strongly believes that the Outstanding Universal Value, integrity and authenticity of a baroque complex such as the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn (whose view axes dominate its surroundings) would be seriously affected by exceeding the agreed height of 60m.

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS also note that the State Party has not submitted any comprehensive and detailed visual impact studies on potential adverse impacts of the proposed building project on the integrity of the property and its Outstanding Universal Value as requested by the World HeritageCommittee for consideration at its 33rd session in 2009. The State Party report only contains the brief comments provided above suggesting that in the State Party’s view the additional height of the 73m section would be of little visual consequence.

The World Heritage Centre and ICOMOS note that the State Party’s conclusions appear not to be based on detailed visual impact studies. ICOMOS however reiterates the importance of carrying out a comprehensive assessment of the visual impact of the 73 metre structure on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property, including analysis of impacts from all perspectives including views from the important view points from Gloriette toward the historic centre of Vienna, and the tower of St. Stephen’s Cathedral.

In compliance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, the State Party report also draws the World HeritageCommittee’s attention to the construction of a new hotel complex replacing the existing IMAX cinema to be built in the buffer zone of the property. The report notes that the height of the new hotel will match the height of the main façade of the adjacent Technical Museum.

While ICOMOS appreciates the State Party drawing attention to this project, it considers that it would require reviewing detailed plans in order to be able to comment on its potential impact on the integrity of the property. In addition, the World Heritage Centre wishes to recall that the two above-mentioned construction projects may be part of the high-rise construction plan of the city of Vienna, which however has not yet been provided by the State Party.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

N/A

Decision Adopted: 33 COM 7B.90

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-09/33.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decision 32 COM 7B.83, adopted at its 32nd session (Quebec City, 2008),

3. Notes that the State Party maintained the moratorium on construction of the project;

4. Expresses its continuing concern that the project plans for the new Kometgründe-Meidling structure exceed the 60m height which the State Party had agreed to maintain in June 2006;

5. Requests the State Party to ensure that construction of the Kometgründe-Meidling project remains halted until the World Heritage Committee has examined satisfactorily its potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

6. Urges the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible, the visual impact studies requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 32nd session in order to review any potential adverse impacts of the proposed building of 73m on the Outstanding Universal Value of the property;

7. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, as soon as possible, detailed plans of the new hotel complex adjacent to the Technical Museum, as well as the high-rise construction plan of the city of Vienna, for review by ICOMOS;

8. Further requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre by 1 February 2011, a report on the issues above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 35th session in 2011.