When the stadium for a 'Winter Workers Olympiad' – one of the most beautiful complexes in Europe, as the daily press put it – was opened in 1931 on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Re-public of Austria on the Prater site in Vienna, Otto Ernst Schweizer, the architect, was suddenly catapulted into the ranks of interna-
tionally acclaimed architects.
The stadium, which can seat 60,000, was built as an amphi-theatre on the model of its ancient predecessors, in particular the Colosseum in Rome, which Schweizer had studied intensively;
the Viennese stadium seen as a reinterpretation of the enormous Roman structure on the basis of the constancy of things that were valid, which was one of the basic premises of his architecture.
Otto Ernst Schweizer, born in 1890, and thus of the same generation as Le Corbusier, Hans Scharoun, Erich Mendelsohn and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, had attracted attention even as a young architect with some outstanding competition entries, and was ac-claimed for his planetarium on the periphery of the old town in Nuremberg and for the stands and the two cafés of the stadium complex there. He had left municipal service as an Oberbaurat to dedicate himself to planning and realizing the Milchhof in Nuremberg and also the stadium in Vienna. For thirty years he worked as one of the great teachers and researchers in the architecture faculty of the Technische Hochschule in Karlsruhe. He built – after a long break forced upon him by National Socialist culture policy – the