Our Modern Vienna Map author Gili Merin introduces the Amalienbad, an Art Deco swimming pool in Vienna with colourful tiles and a regal atmosphere – a must-see 20th century building to visit on your next trip to Vienna. Plus a post-swim dining spot nearby that resembles a spaceship...
All photography by Gili Merin
If one is looking for something truly Viennese, then Amalienbad is the answer. It is an Art-Deco swimming complex completed with mesmerizing ceramic mosaic. On the monumental facade, we see sculptured figures, semi-circular alcoves and a bright red text that announces that the project is part of Red Vienna —a large-scale social-housing project that took place between 1918 and 1934 by the Social Democratic Workers’ Party of Austria. Part of the scene was the construction of luxurious bathing facilities in proletariat neighbourhoods, such as this one.
The entrance lobby welcomes you with orthogonal geometries of colourful tiles, which you can enjoy without buying an entry ticket. If you choose to go inside, opt for the combined pool and sauna entry for the full experience. The main pool (which goes as deep as 4.85 metres) is topped by a domed glass roof (that used to be opened and closed in under three minutes) and is surrounded by lounge chairs, diving platforms, and wooden changing booths that are rented to regular visitors.
The spa area (separate for men and women, yet there are certain co-ed hours) is also decorated with bright ceramic tiles and offers a range of wet and dry saunas, a cold plunge pool, and a heated bath. The latter is the stylistic highlight of the complex: a circular pool surrounded by colorful columns and topped by a painted glass dome, creating a regal atmosphere of ancient Egypt or a luxury hammam.
If you crave some food after the baths, head a block down Favoritenstrasse to Domenig Haus, with its spaceship-like exterior and whacky red and metal interior, where giant hands and enlarged ventilation pipes decorate what is now a multi-story kebab restaurant.
Find the Amalienbad on our Modern Vienna Map
Your guide to modern architecture in Vienna. Featuring remarkable examples of Modern architecture in Vienna, this two-sided bilingual guide includes a map, details of 50 buildings, an introduction and photography by Gili Merin. Featured on the map are Functionalist works by Adolf Loos, the residential blocks of Red Vienna, including the Karl-Marx-Hof, post-war Brutalist churches, Hans Hollein’s sculptural shopfronts, the world’s first Deconstructivist project, by Coop Himmelb(l)au, Hundertwasser's colourful and undulating architecture and much more.