Count Gundacker Thomas von Starhemberg
After the second Turkish siege (1683) several baroque garden palaces were built in the Viennese outskirts. The Schönburg Palace (formerly Starhemberg Palace) is among the few still remaining today. The initially bare Schaumburg grounds on the Wieden belonged to the Starhemberg family since 1450. Count Gundacker Thomas von Starhemberg, half-brother of Count Ernst Rüdiger, who had defended Vienna in the second Turkish siege, enlarged the property at the beginning of the 18th century by acquiring additional land parcels.
Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt
He appointed Johann Lukas von Hildebrandt to erect the garden palace in 1700. In 1811, the premise was sold to the Hungarian kings cupbearer, Count Joseph Nepomuk Keglevich von Buzin. The latter commissioned the architect Franz Jäger junior with converting the Palace into a building in the Empire style. A library hall was created and the buildings single storey lateral wings were raised by an additional floor. The mansard roofs were replaced with tiled roofs, and it is likely that the former French garden was remodelled into an English garden at that time as well.
In 1841, the Palace was acquired by the Counts Schönburg-Hartenstein who altered several rooms, to save the library
. In the 1970s the property was divided among three heirs. Two thirds were at first sold to the now defunct Conti Bank and later to the entrepreneurs Danek and Marian Gertner, who in 1979 bought the remaining third from Caroline Schönburg-de-Laserna, thus becoming the premises sole owner. The Palace belongs presently to the Gertner Immobilien GmbH
Today, the three storey Palace consists of a half-cylindrical central risalit with a concave frontal facade facing the street, as well as of two extending triaxial side wings at either side. Lukas von Hildebrandt had built the imposing, curved central street-front with several arcades as an open passage-way for carriages. Those were probably closed in the course of the buildings rehabilitation in 1841 and converted into an elegant, classicist Empire style vestibule. The former central arcade ingress serves as a main entrance today. The central risalits attic is framed by a two-storey balustrade decorated with figures.
The Palaces most representative rooms are the octagonal ballroom
on the first floor (the Beletage), the adjacent library with its unique inlays and finally the vestibule with its oval double staircase. Many rooms are in the Empire style. The library, built by Count Buzin, dates back to the early 19th century, while the remaining rooms were designed in the mid-19th century under the Schönburg family.
The park and the ballroom are connected through a narrowing, free-standing double staircase. The two stone sphinxes framing the propertys entrance are vestiges from the original baroque garden as represented in Daniel von Hubers "Viennas Scenography" and Salomon Kleiners etchings.