(Pictures you can see by clicking on the link at the end of page!)
Ferstel and Café Central, by Rudolf von Alt, left the men’s alley (Herrengasse – Street of the Lords), right Strauchgasse
Danube mermaid fountain in a courtyard of the Palais Ferstel
Shopping arcade of the Freyung to Herrengasse
Entrance to Ferstel of the Freyung, right the Palais Harrach, left the palace Hardegg
The Ferstel is a building in the first district of Vienna, Inner City, with the addresses Strauchgasse 2-4, 14 Lord Street (Herrengasse) and Freyung 2. It was established as a national bank and stock exchange building, the denomination Palais is unhistoric.
In 1855, the entire estate between Freyung, Strauchgasse and Herrengasse was by Franz Xaver Imperial Count von Abensperg and Traun to the k.k. Privileged Austrian National Bank sold. This banking institution was previously domiciled in the Herrengasse 17/ Bankgasse. The progressive industrialization and the with it associated economic expansion also implied a rapid development of monetary transactions and banking, so that the current premises soon no longer have been sufficient. This problem could only be solved by a new building, in which also should be housed a stock exchange hall.
According to the desire of the then Governor of the National Bank, Franz von Pipitz, the new building was supposed to be carried out with strict observance of the economy and avoiding a worthless luxury with solidity and artistic as well as technical completion. The building should offer room for the National Bank, the stock market, a cafe and – a novel idea for Vienna – a bazaar.
The commissioned architect, Heinrich von Ferstel, demonstrated in the coping with the irregular surface area with highest conceivable effective use of space his state-of-the art talent. The practical requirements combine themselves with the actually artistic to a masterful composition. Ferstel has been able to lay out the rooms of the issuing bank, the two trading floors, the passage with the bazar and the coffee house in accordance with their intended purpose and at the same time to maintain a consistent style.
He was an advocate of the "Materialbaues" (material building) as it clearly is reflected in the ashlar building of the banking institution. Base, pillars and stairs were fashioned of Wöllersdorfer stone, façade elements such as balconies, cornices, structurings as well as stone banisters of the hard white stone of Emperor Kaiser quarry (Kaisersteinbruch), while the walls were made of -Sankt Margarethen limestone. The inner rooms have been luxuriously formed, with wood paneling, leather wallpaper, Stuccolustro and rich ornamental painting.
The facade of the corner front Strauchgasse/Herrengasse received twelve sculptures by Hanns Gasser as decoration, they symbolized the peoples of the monarchy. The mighty round arch at the exit Freyung were closed with wrought-iron bare gates, because the first used locksmith could not meet the demands of Ferstel, the work was transferred to a silversmith.
1860 the National Bank and the stock exchange could move into the in 1859 completed construction. The following year was placed in the glass-covered passage the Danube mermaid fountain, whose design stems also of Ferstel. Anton von Fernkorn has created the sculptural decoration with an artistic sensitivity. Above the marble fountain basin rises a column crowned by a bronze statue, the Danube female with flowing hair, holding a fish in its hand. Below are arranged around the column three also in bronze cast figures: merchant, fisherman and shipbuilder, so those professions that have to do with the water. The total cost of the building, the interior included, amounted to the enormous sum of 1.897.600 guilders.
The originally planned use of the building remained only a few years preserved. The Stock Exchange with the premises no longer had sufficient space: in 1872 it moved to a provisional solution, 1877 at Schottenring a new Stock Exchange building opened. The National Bank moved 1925 into a yet 1913 planned, spacious new building.
The building was in Second World War battered gravely particularly on the main facade. In the 1960s was located in the former Stock Exchange a basketball training hall, the entire building appeared neglected.
1971 dealt the President of the Federal Monuments Office, Walter Frodl, with the severely war damaged banking and stock exchange building in Vienna. The Office for Technical Geology of Otto Casensky furnished an opinion on the stone facade. On the facade Freyung 2 a balcony was originally attached over the entire 15.4 m long front of hard Kaiserstein.
(Usage of Leith lime: Dependent from the consistence and structure of the Leitha lime the usage differed from „Reibsand“ till building material. The Leitha lime stone is a natural stone which can be formed easily and was desired als beautiful stone for buildings in Roman times. The usage of lime stone from Eggenburg in the Bronze age already was verified. This special attribute is the reason why the Leitha lime was taken from sculptors and masons.
The source of lime stone in the Leitha Mountains was important for Austria and especially for Vienna from the cultur historical point of view during the Renaissance and Baroque. At the 19th century the up to 150 stone quarries of the Leitha mountains got many orders form the construction work of the Vienna „Ring road“.
At many buildings of Graz, such as the castle at the Grazer castle hill, the old Joanneum and the Cottage, the Leitha lime stone was used.
Due to the fact that Leitha lime is bond on carbonate in the texture, the alteration through the actual sour rain is heavy. www.geocaching.com/geocache/GC2HKZ9_leithagebirge-leithak...)
This balcony was no longer present and only close to the facade were remnants of the tread plates and the supporting brackets recognizable. In July 1975, followed the reconstruction of the balcony and master stonemason Friedrich Opferkuh received the order to restore the old state am Leithagebirge received the order the old state – of Mannersdorfer stone, armoured concrete or artificial stone.
1975-1982, the building was renovated and re-opened the Café Central. Since then, the privately owned building is called Palais Ferstel. In the former stock exchange halls now meetings and presentations take place; the Café Central is utilizing one of the courtyards.