Karl Holey was an architectural historian, monument conservator, cathedral architect and, as an architect, predominantly a church builder. He studied architecture at the Vienna University of Technology and graduated in 1904. He then remained as an assistant at the TH Vienna for two years and undertook study trips to European countries as a scholarship holder of the Ghega Foundation. In 1908 he joined the k.k. as a civil servant. Central Commission for Art and Historical Monuments, today’s Federal Monuments Office.
In 1915 he followed the appointment to associate professor and became general conservator in monument preservation. In 1925 he was appointed full professor at the TH Vienna. From 1925 to 1929 he participated in excavations of the Academy of Sciences.
Between 1934 and 1938 Holey was a member of the Federal Cultural Council of the Ständestaat, and from 1937 to 1938 he was rector of the Vienna University of Technology. In March 1938 he resigned from his post, as did two of the five deans and 13 professors. From 1937 until his death in 1955, Holey was the cathedral architect of St. Stephen’s in Vienna.