After studying architecture Ferstel spent the beginning of the 1850s in his uncle Fritz Stache’s architect studio in Bohemia, building and restoring castles. He also undertook extended study trips to Germany, Belgium, Holland and England which encouraged a fondness for Late Romanticism.
In 1855 at only 27, he won the tender for the construction of the Votive Church in Vienna, beating submissions from the most important Austrian and German artists. The Votive Church was one of the first buildings on Vienna’s newly planned RIngstraße and took until 1879 to complete. This unparalleled Neo-Gothic masterpiece made Ferstel one of the most significant and famed Ringstraße architects.
Subsequently the architect developed a rigorous construction operation, supported by his brother-in-law Karl Koechlin. After Late Romantic beginnings, for example the Bank and Stock Exchange building in Vienna, he tended to follow the strict historicist ideals and form of the Neo-Renaissance.
Apart from the Votive Church, the most important buildings attributed to Ferstel – who was highly successful in common housing construction too - include the Museum of Applied Arts, the Chemistry Institute of Vienna University, the University of Applied Arts and the University of Vienna as well as numerous residences and palais. Palais Ferstel on the Freyung is one of these. The architectonic masterpieces by Heinrich von Ferstel litter the ground of the former Danubian monarchy.