1.         Historic Centre of Vienna (Austria) (C 1033)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2001

Criteria  (ii)(iv)(vi)

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

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1033/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1033/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

March 2006: Joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS mission to the “Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn” 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) High-rise construction projects of Central Vienna ;

b) High-rise construction project of Vienna Main Train Station.

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1033/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2011

On 31 January 2011, the State Party submitted a report on the state of conservation of the Historic Centre of Vienna and the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn in response to Decision 34 COM 7B.76. This report includes considerable illustrative additions to the 2010 Visual Impact Study for the two World Heritage properties with regard to the potential impact of the projects “Vienna Main Station” and “Kometgründe” on the Outstanding Universal Value of the properties.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that it has been possible to create some supplementary views in winter, but not the previously suggested views by night, or from upper level vantage points.

a) Kometgründe-Meidling project

The report states that if the Kometgründe office project is implemented, its height will be maintained at 60 metres in accordance with decisions taken by the Vienna Advisory Board for Urban Planning and Urban Design on 20 October 2010, and the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee.

b) High-rise construction projects in Central Vienna

Forum Schönbrunn project in the buffer zone of the World Heritage property “Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn”: The State Party is of the opinion that this project integrates well with the surrounding Gründerzeit buildings with regard to its height and scale and that its future silhouette would not impact the World Heritage property. However, according to the information submitted by the State Party this project seems to contrast sharply with its surroundings both in scale and style. According to the Federal Ministry for Education, Art and Culture the buffer zone is not subject to increased legal protection. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies have not been informed about this project at a planning stage.

Vocational Horticultural School Schönbrunn: The construction of an additional wing to the boarding school is considered compatible with the World Heritage status of Schönbrunn by the State Party. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies have not been informed about this project at a planning stage.

Monte Laa: According to the development plan of 2010, this project comprises the construction of three high-rise buildings of 65, 100 and 110 m. Since they are situated over six kilometres south of Vienna’s city centre and therefore not visible from the city centre, the State Party considers that this project will not interfere with the World Heritage status. The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies agree with this assessment despite the project’s considerable impact on the skyline of Vienna in general.

Urban development along Danube Canal: The State Party is currently erecting a Raiffeisen high-rise building of 78 metres immediately outside of the buffer zone of the “Historic Centre of Vienna” in an area that already features a considerable number of skyscrapers of comparable height. The height of the planned building was reduced further to the initiative of the City of Vienna to ensure compatibility with the World Heritage status.

The Marillenalm project situated in the vicinity of Schönbrunn Gardens will not be implemented.

c) High-rise construction project of Vienna Main Train Station

The State Party report contains extensive information about developments at the Vienna Main Train Station project. This project envisages a new station complex and a new urban quarter with offices and flats and ancillary service buildings for 30,000 people. This development is based on a Master Plan adopted by the City Council of Vienna in 2004. It is constantly being re-evaluated in response to the changing conditions and new designs. All newly proposed high-rise buildings are evaluated for their impact on the adjacent Historic Centre of Vienna. The development is divided into sections which are proceeding at a different pace. The high rise sections nearest the historic centre are:

Regarding the planned development of the Main Station some of the proposed changes in design will increase the overall size of the development and in some cases the height. In December 2010 the Vienna District decided to amend the existing Master Plan so as to increase the total floor space of office buildings by some 6,000 square metres, which will result in an increase in height of the office buildings. 

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

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies note that the project Marillenalm will not be implemented.

Concerning the Main Station project, the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that it will be essential to ensure that impact assessments are adequately carried out for all amended structures. In this context, it is essential that visual impact studies are undertaken from eye level within key places of the property, such as the windows of the museums in both the Lower and Upper Belvedere as well as from far views. Night-time views are also needed, as previously requested. In all cases the details recorded for the images should ensure replicability. In order to provide reassurance that all appropriate views have been considered, there is a need to provide a list of key areas within the property from which views have been considered. Reassurance is needed that in particular the following will not be impaired:

Views from:

· the Lower Belvedere Palace and its Gardens;

· the western entrance to the Upper Belvedere Palace from the Prinz-Eugen-Strasse concealed in;

· the windows of the Austrian Gallery of the Upper Belvedere Palace Museum.

Views to:

· the South across the ornamental pond.

It should be ensured that the two high-rise towers at the entrance to the Main Railway Station (Südtirolerplatz and ÖBB Headquarters) will not be visible from inside the area of the Belvedere Palace and its Gardens.

From the building plans received Forum Schönbrunn appears to have a stronger impact on the Palace and Gardens of Schönbrunn than is described in the State Party report.

The World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies consider that future impact assessments should be undertaken in line with ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for World Heritage cultural properties to ensure that impact on Outstanding Universal Value is specifically considered.

Decision Adopted: 35 COM 7B.84

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-11/35.COM/7B,

2. Recalling Decisions 33 COM 7B.89, 33 COM 7B.90 and 34 COM 7B.76, adopted at its 33rd (Seville, 2009) and 34th (Brasilia, 2010) sessions respectively,

3. Acknowledges the information provided by the State Party in addition to the 2010 visual impact study;

4. Notes that the Kometgründe project will, if implemented, be carried out according to the request of the World Heritage Committee made at its 34th session (Brasilia, 2010) and requests the State Party to inform it of any decisions taken in this regard;

5. Also requests the State Party, given the multiplicity of development projects in the properties, their buffer zones and beyond, to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/ICOMOS reactive monitoring mission to the properties to assess:

a) the proposed changes in the design of Vienna Main Station,

b) the potential impact of new developments on the properties,

c) the integrity of views from within key places of the properties;

6. Further requests the State Party, in conformity with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines, to inform the World Heritage Centre of any additional major urban development projects as well as amendments to current projects that may adversely impact the Outstanding Universal Value of the properties;

7. Urges the State Party to ensure that future impact assessments consider impact on the Outstanding Universal Value and conform with ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for World Heritage cultural properties;

8. Requests furthermore the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2013, an updated report on the state of conservation of the properties and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 37th session in 2013.