Residential and nursing home, Vienna
Designed for recognition, not repetition
VIENNA (AT) - Completed last year, this residential and nursing home, situated on the site of a former factory in a developing urban area of Simmering, the 11th district of Vienna, is defined not only by the visually striking, erratic pattern of facade lines and cuts found on its exterior, but also by an interior logic of superior quality, for which the architects received the AIT Award 2012, 'Global Award for the very best in Interior and Architecture'. Conceived by Josef Weichenberger Architects, the 200-metre-long, 30,000 m2 complex is split among two wings and a central structure, and comprises fourteen residential care units (of which two are specialized in dementia), a day-care centre for 50 seniors, a medical centre, therapy areas and 56 subsidized apartments.
Surrounded by a green landscape and closely bordered by trees, the complex also has its own gardens, chapel and public and semi-public areas, which are accessible from outside. Service functions, such as the medical centre, café, hair salon and sundries shop, are located at ground level, while the residential nursing and assisted living units are distributed among the upper floors. The garage, building services and a kitchen are located at the lower end of the complex, filling the extra space created by the site's slightly sloping topography.
The distinctive exterior facade reflects the variation of the interior layout, a design principle devised by the architects in which repetition is kept to a minimum, utilizing these differences to foster identification and recognition among staff and residents. Thus the circulation zones within the building and among its units are impacted by interruptions in the design's linearity and rely on colour, openness and transparency to express their individual character. Auxiliary spaces within each unit, including communal kitchens and bars, are clustered in such a way as to create floor plans that change from one unit to the next, forming a social nucleus for residents as well. Finally, full-height glazing in these areas and on the terraces offer views onto the surrounding green spaces, connecting interior and exterior with plenty of daylight and natural ventilation.
Wednesday | 8 August | 2012 | Austria | Dutton R. Hauhart