The Orangery was originally a winter garden that could be heated. As the south façade and roof could be removed in summer, the orange trees could stay in situ and did not have to be carried out of the building.
Although convertible buildings with heating to house sensitive plants in winter were known in Italy and Germany as far back as the sixteenth century, assembling and dismantling parts of these structures was very laborious. Prince Eugenes Orangery was a masterpiece of carpentry and greatly simplified the process using sliding constructions and other contraptions.
After Prince Eugenes death, the orange trees were transferred to Schönbrunn and his Pomeranzenhaus was converted into stables. A false ceiling was installed in 1805 and the original sliding roof was replaced. After 1918, this building housed parts of the Moderne Galerie; from 1953 to 2007 it was the Museum of Medieval Art. In 2007, the architect Susanne Zottl designed a modern, white cube exhibition space in the Orangery.