SOPHIENSPITAL AS A GOLDMINE
Universität für angewandte Kunst Wien
In a sense, the VIENNA DESIGN WEEK 2018 was also a farewell to the building Martin Kohlbauer built on Vienna’s Gürtel in 1999. To celebrate the upcoming renovation of the former Sophienspital, an installation by three social design alumni directed the gaze at this alteration of the wing. With a video installation and neon stickers on structural elements, the contribution took a stand regarding the life cycles of buildings, many of which are in modern times too short, and the possible reuse of material resources – a theme that was also the subject of the subsequent discussion, moderated by Brigitte Felderer (University of Applied Arts Vienna). The participants were Thomas Romm (BauKarussell), Martin Kohlbauer (Architect of the Sophienspital’s Europa-Pavillon), and a representative of the Executive Group for Construction and Technology, Vienna. Of course, the building’s useful life is far from over and its structure, still intact, would have to be adapted – probably requiring extensive expenditures. And so, the controversial but always respectful and matter-of-fact discussion explored a variety of opinions regarding cost effectiveness, practicability, and the idea of reuse.