Wotruba Church – Vienna, Austria - Atlas Obscura

Wotruba Church

This cubist Vienna church building looks like some sort of alien stonehenge. 


Sitting atop a grassy hill in Vienna is the Kirche Zur Heiligsten Dreifaltigkeit (Church of the Most Holy Trinity), what looks to be an asymetrical jumble of stark concrete slabs precariously threaded together. However most people simply know it as the Wotruba Church. 

The modernist chapel takes its name from the visionary architect behind its creation, Fritz Wotruba. The sculptor-cum-architect began building the strange building in 1974, inspired by elaborately gothic Chartres Cathedral, though you could be forgiven from seeing how given the brutalist church that he ended up designing. Built on the site of a former Nazi barracks, the church is formed from 152 concrete blocks, bolted together like a Jenga tower in mid-tumble. The windows are built into the irregular spaces between the blocks. 

Inside of the church, the main chapel is essentially mundane with regular church seats, uniform psalm books tucked into their backs. Were it not for the chaos of the church walls all around, it would not seem that different from any other around the world.

Unfortunately Wotruba did not live to see his beautifully odd church reach completion. He died in 1975, just a year shy of the building’s completion in 1976. While the architect behind the alien church did not survive to appreciate his work, it still stands today, wowing parishioners and fans of odd architecture alike. It may seem a bit cold and abstract in comparison to more traditional churches, but the experience of walking into a giant brutalist sculpture is heavenly in its own right.