two drawings in the sky, two paintings underneathPedro Cabrita Reis

two drawings in the sky, two paintings underneath

In his competition proposal for the design of two Vienna U2 subway stations, Donaumarina and Donaustadtbrucke, the Portuguese artist Pedro Cabrita Reis creates a connection through interrelating artistic elements: both designs share the monochrome orange wall painting and the linear-sculptural drawing of fluorescent tubes. A further component of the design for WIENER LINIEN (Vienna Transport Corporation) is anticipated in earlier works: in 2007, Pedro Cabrita Reis already used the stringing of fluorescent lamps on a towering steel support mounted at a slight angle for his work Down Here, Up There, a commission by Kunstmuseum Winterthur. He subsequently varied the design for an installation in a landscape context titled Among the trees in the following year. Nevertheless, the combination of these elements in his concept specifically developed for the two subway stations in Vienna is a new, completely independent work that acknowledges the given architecture, takes up its basic forms, and counters it with an entirely different language of design.

Planned by the Viennese architectural office Katzberger, the two subway stations complement and depend on each other. Like bridgeheads, the stations brace the subway line U2’s crossing of the Danube and establish a gateway situation which is architectonically emphasized by the stairway and elevator towers of the access buildings on the riverside. The stations are also bridge structures in themselves. The Donaustadt Bridge spans the A22 highway, the Donaumarina and the Handelskai. This configuration results in an interesting doubling: both stations are laid out as bridges and serve as bridgeheads for crossing the Danube. Despite their comparable structure and identical building materials — load-bearing parts in exposed concrete, facing of the basement with mat metal panels, vertically structured bands of windows on the level of the platforms — the stations are distinctly different as regards their architectural design: while the seemingly elliptical volume of the Donaustadtbrucke station conveys a certain expressive tenor and virtually invites metaphors, the Donaumarina station radiates a reserved orthogonal elegance.

Pedro Cabrita Reis occupies the two sibling stations with corresponding interrelating works. His design is based on equally precise and minimal interventions that rely on the elements color, light, and form. Clearly defined vertical and horizontal areas of the buildings’ outer facades are covered with orange and white concrete paint, while a 10.5-m-high light pole is installed slightly off plumb on one of each subway station’s characteristic stairwell towers. Their white shine unfolds its effect far into the urban space and landscape of the area. So the artist’s intervention creates an imaginary crossing of the Danube in parallel to the real one, virtually accomplishing a second, artistic bridge.

Text: Markus Richter, in: Pedro Cabrita Reis, two drawings in the sky, two paintings underneath.


Donaumarina, 1020 Wien

Further Information

Pedro Cabrita Reis

*1956 in Lissabon, lives and works in Lissabon (PT).

This project was selected as a winner's project in the course of an artistic competition. For more information please follow this link:



two drawings in the sky, two paintings underneathPedro Cabrita Reis

Time Period

Since December 9, 2013

U2 Donaumarina, U2 Donaustadtbrücke

2 colored areas: Pure Orange RAL 2004, 26.35 m × 3.3 m, Traffic White RAL 9016, 3.5 × 11.2/11.4 m (lower edge rising) + around corner 5.2 × 12.45 m Light rod: hot-dip galvanized steel profile, I profile, 20 cm wide, 10 m high, 10° off plumb (projecting), 8 LED moistureproof tubes

2 colored areas: Pure Orange RAL 2004, 3.7 m × 10.4 m, Traffic White RAL 9016, 3.21m × 7.61 m across 37.15 × 2.77 m (together a long lying L), Light rod: hot-dip galvanized steel, I profile, 20 cm wide, 10 m high, 10° off plumb (projecting), 8 LED moistureproof tubes



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