Household, Court and State Archives

Shelves, catwalks and staircases as a uniform iron construction

Fig 1: A functional archive building with a love of detail (© BPD)

When at the end of the 19th century the office space available at the Ballhausplatz became too limited, the decision was made to house the archive collections in an annex built on the site of the former Minorite Monastery. In accordance with the plans of the architect Otto Hofer, the Household, Court and State Archives were built between 1900–1903 in a way that closed the pentagonal outline and gave the impression from the outside of a unified structure.

Old, leather-bound books

Fig 2: Collections dating back to the Habsburg and Babenberg periods (© BPD)

The cast-iron structures in the interior of the archive building were extremely modern for the time. To ensure an efficient use of the available space and make documents more easily accessible, the floors are divided into 3 levels, thus giving the archive more than a dozen storage levels. The early 20th century architectural gem also boasts one of the most magnificent staircases of its day. The frescoes by Karl Johann Peyfuss (1865–1932) document the most important stages in the development of the State Archives: Maria "Theresa founds the State Archives", "Emperor Franz Joseph visits the newly-built State Archives".

Today the main building of the Austrian State Archives is a new building in Nottendorfer Gasse. However, the Household, Court and State Archives are still home to the historic collection largely dating back to the Habsburg Monarchy. The oldest document dates back to 816.

This is where our tour ends. Further information about the Federal Chancellery is available in the History section.