Vienna added to list of sites in danger

The Hofburg palace in Vienna. Unesco said a high-rise project under development will undermine the historic centre's value.
The Hofburg palace in Vienna. Unesco said a high-rise project under development will undermine the historic centre's value.PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

VIENNA • The historic centre of Vienna, with its grand Baroque castles, monuments and buildings, has been added to the Unesco list of sites in danger due to a high-rise project that the body says will undermine the area's value.

The project, still in its developmental phase, is set to extend over an area of 6,500sq m just south of the famous 19th century Stadtpark, which bisects the Wien river.

The plans include a huge hotel, luxury apartments in a high-rise tower, fitness and sports facilities, a new conference venue and a 1,000 sq m indoor skating rink.

But the World Heritage Committee took issue with the tower's height of 66.3m - downsized from be original 75m following protests.

The committee said the project "fails to comply fully with previous committee decisions, notably concerning the height of new constructions, which will impact adversely the outstanding universal value of the site".

Unesco has capped the height limit for a building in the city centre at 43m.

City officials reacted to the committee's decision by saying they were determined to keep the city centre as a recognised World Heritage site, which Unesco designated in 2001.

The city has until February next year to convince the Committee not to drop the label.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2017, with the headline 'Vienna added to list of sites in danger'. Print Edition | Subscribe