Internationales Pressezentrum

APA-Turm

Location

Vienna, Austria

48.24496, 16.36526

Author

Kurt Hlaweniczka

Architect

Built in

1970

Built by the Austrian Press Agency (APA), the IPZ has been a prestigious property for more than 30 years. Beside APA, it was home to several other international media agencies such as the German Press Agency DPA and the news agencies of China, Iran and Iraq. Also located in the APA Tower were TV stations such as Germany’s ZDF and Italy’s RAI as well as a branch office of a bank.

On 16 September 1970 the new international press centre at Wien-Heiligenstadt, IPZ for short, was officially and ceremoniously inaugurated by Austrian president Franz Jonas. Built by the Austrian Press Agency (APA) in co-operation with the Vienna real estate company Ekazent, the IPZ has been a prestigious property for more than 30 years. It was home to the APA and several other international media agencies such as the German Press Agency DPA and the news agencies of China, Iran and Iraq. Also located in the APA Tower were TV stations such as Germany’s ZDF and Italy’s RAI as well as a branch office of a bank.

The 13-storey high media centre in Döbling, located in Vienna’s 19th district, was built between 1968 and 1970 to plans by the renowned architect Kurt Hlaweniczka. The tower, with its 7000 square metres of floor space, was used as an office building for 35 years, until 2005. The building’s fate was sealed when the principal tenant, APA, relocated. Thereafter, the tower remained empty and almost forgotten for more than ten years. In 2013 its owner, the UNIQA insurance group, decided to sell the decaying ghost tower to the renowned Viennese architect Heinz Neumann.

Afer more than ten years of vacancy and several proposals for its new use, the IPZ remains empty. New plans are still in progress, with demolition and a new build just as much a possibility as complete refurbishment. Over the last few years, plans have been put forward for a student hostel, serviced apartments, a loft, a start-up centre, and a new building for medical purposes. More recently, the architect has complained of a lack of co-operation from the City of Vienna’s administration. In particular, he has blamed building regulations, the lack of a metro station and the slow progress of the urban development area known as the Stadtquartier Muthgasse around the ghost tower for IPZ’s continued vacancy. In early August 2018 the owner, Heinz Neumann, announced that construction work would get underway in 2019, even if details of what is actually supposed to happen remain sketchy: either demolition and a new build or renovation and repurposing.

Text by Joshua Koeb

Function

1970 Mixed: office building for international media agencies and TV stations, bank

2018 Vacant

Ownership

1970 APA and EKAZENT

2018 Architect Heinz Neumann (HNP architects ZT GmbH)

Condition

1970

2018 Poor

Property Management

1970

2018

Form of government

1970 Parliamentary Republic

2018 Parliamentary Republic

Spatial Planning Agency

1970 Good

2018

Type of heritage and protection

1970

2018 Not recognised as heritage

Interview with Christian J.

Newspaper Producer

Transcription
I can’t really tell you anything about it, to be honest. All I know is that it has stood empty for some time. The rumour is that you can’t pull it down because, apparently, it was built with asbestos, inside. What’s more, it’s really boxed in, location-wise, which makes it difficult to demolish the building. There was a rumour going around for a while that it was to be used as accommodation for refugees. But, yeah, no idea. – But to be honest, I haven’t looked into this district here enough to know what’s needed. So some useful purpose or other would be great, of course.

Interview with Felix K.

College student

Transcription
I don’t know what it was like before. All I know is that it was the Kurier editorial offices. I’m not sure it makes too much sense to do something with it, the way it looks. Or whether they should just simply pull it down and build something new in its place.

Interview with Mario Scalet

Journalist

Transcription
I worked in the APA high-rise – also known as the Kurier high-rise because of the advertising on the top of it – for four, four-and-a-half years: first on the twelfth floor, with the best views but in the lowest position, then on the eleventh floor, with very good views in a higher position, and then finally, on the fifth floor, as an editor for the APA. Back then you were still allowed to smoke in the offices. It was a bit crowded, with some of us sharing desks as there simply wasn’t enough space for all the editors. – Sadly, you can see what became of the building. It has stood empty now for a long time: an international press centre has become a ruin of a building. But I’ve still got some great memories of how, on the way back from press conferences in the city centre, we should sit on the D tram and write out our copy by hand, in longhand, and then type it up into the system – after all, there were no Notebooks back then.