Photo credit: IAKW-AG

Work on the largest modernisation project in history of Austria Center Vienna has been progressing nicely since the start of the year. The four support columns for the danubeSAIL on Bruno-Kreisky-Platz will go up a short time from now, marking the project’s first major milestone. The first large-scale congress is set to take place beneath the new landmark in March 2020. 

The danubeSAIL is the largest construction project at the venue by far since it first opened around 30 years ago. The aim is to build on Vienna’s successful model as a congress destination, with a view to safeguarding long-term competitiveness. The phased project will be completed in 2022. A new access building with skywalk and two additional entrances will make it possible to use the different levels for separate events held in parallel. An attractive canopy – the danubeSAIL – will also be added to the square outside the building.

By the time work is completed, this area will be transformed into a public space that brings people together, and adds a further 4,200 square metres for events in either closed or open formats. The danubeSAIL will be completed in February 2020 ready for its first ever event in March, the European Congress of Radiology (ECR).

“We are right on schedule and cannot wait to see the danubeSAIL take shape in front of our eyes,” said Managing Director Susanne Baumann-Söllner. Over the next few months, Bruno-Kreisky-Platz at the venue will be covered – with the danubeSAIL. This new addition defines and gives structure to this empty and largely unused square, turning it into a space where people will choose to spend time. The area beneath the danubeSAIL can be closed off as required to create a multifunctional hall for events and congresses. The columns and roof will be clad by December, and completion is scheduled for February 2020.

A number of other remodelling projects will also be completed at the venue by the start of 2022, including the construction of a new entrance building and a skywalk which will link the main building with all of the exhibition halls. “To help us manage the challenges of juggling construction work at the site and normal operations, we have divided the coming two and a half years into construction phases and event phases,” Baumann-Söllner explained.

At the moment, the trend in Vienna’s Donaucity is to build upwards, with numerous high-rise projects set to start this year and in the years to follow. As a result, the square underneath the danubeSAIL comes as something of an exception as it is intended to provide a communal space for the people who live and work in this part of town to enjoy for the majority of the year.


Construction schedule:2019-2022
Total cost:32m
Financing:Federal government (65%), City of Vienna (35%)
Architect:Dietrich I Untertrifaller
Project manager and site supervisor:Vasko+Partner
General contractor:Zeman & Co GmbH