Officially known as the Vienna International Centre (VIC), UNO City is home to the United Nations Office at Vienna. Adjacent is the Austria Center, Vienna, a large conference center.
UNO City, a modern metropolis in the midst of a city of grand history, is a collection of high- and mid-rise buildings that plays host to the United Nations Office in Vienna, hence its name. Situated in Donau City, north of the Danube River, UNO City employs about five thousand individuals.
Vienna has been an international center of diplomacy ever since the Vienna Congress was held here in 1814-1815 to establish new boundaries in post-Napoleonic Europe. After the Second World War, Vienna was divided into four zones occupied by the French, British, Russians and Americans, which made it a center of diplomats and secret services. And its location close to the iron curtain made Vienna a hotbed of spies during the Cold War.
International organizations were attracted by Austria’s political neutrality and Vienna’s location at the border between East and West, and started to establish their headquarters in the city. In 1957 the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) settled here, later followed by other organizations including OPEC and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Creation of UNO City
In 1966, then Chancellor of Austria Bruno Kreisky, who was interested in having an expanded international presence in Vienna, suggested the creation of an International Center which could be used by the organizations of the United Nations. A site just north of the Danube River was selected as the location for the new complex. Austrian architect Johann Staber, who won a design contest from a field of almost three hundred applicants, was chosen as the lead architect of VIC/UNO City. Construction of the complex started in 1973 and in 1979 the complex was finally completed.
About the Complex
UNO City consists of six Y-shaped office towers with curved glass facades that surround a cylindrical conference building. The towers range in height from 48 to 120 meters tall (150 to about 400 ft.) and the complex covers a total of 180,000 sq. meters (about 45 acres).
The towers are designed in the International Style, a very popular style during the 1970s as it symbolized progress and modernity. At the time, the complex was a highly visible landmark, but a building boom at the start of the twenty-first century resulted in some high rise buildings that now dwarf the UNO City office buildings.
Visiting UNO City
Nearly twenty years after VIC opened its doors, it decided to open a Visitor Center to the public who had always expressed an interest in learning about what goes on inside UNO City. Today, visitors can enjoy a guided tour of the expansive facilities. In addition, the Visitors Center provides a place where guests can purchase UN-related merchandise, including stamps and souvenirs. The United Nations Women’s Guild also sells handicrafts from different countries at the Visitors Center and UNICEF items are available as well.
- Next: Naschmarkt
- More Sights & Attractions in Vienna