Project “Elisabethines – Vienna” – an architectural story

For many years, DELTA has been supporting the Elisabethines' site in Vienna Landstraße in its conversion and new construction projects. In 2019, the center for people in old age was opened. For Franziskus Spital, despite the complex existing situation, an attic conversion and two extensions for an acute geriatric ward were successfully implemented in a first construction phase; the conversion took place during ongoing operations. With the idea of demolishing the old operating theater area and making optimal use of the zoning by connecting the new building to the existing building, the DELTA architects found the optimal solution for the second construction phase.

The final commissioning of the second construction phase took place in May 2022: An innovative fresh kitchen, two internal wards, a palliative ward and a day clinic for acute geriatric patients were built in the interior areas. The short-term care facility of the Convent of the Elisabethines Linz-Vienna was put into operation at the same time as the end of the second construction phase in May 2022.

For the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta, the “MALTESER Ordenshaus” was built, a residential and nursing home for the elderly, which was additionally equipped with office space for the mobile nursing service MALTESER Care. Within the scope of the project, both the renovation of the existing monastery complex and a new building were parts of the work, and thus a state-of-the-art home was created. For both DELTA and the clients, the comfort and well-being of the patients was always the top priority. The project, including the outdoor facilities with around 4,500m2, was completed in the fall of 2022.

“Orientation through visual axes as well as possible “figure-eight loops” in the floor plan not only ensure well-being and safety, but also that persons with dementia can go their own way in their immediate environment.”

Historically significant, made for the future

The close cooperation with the Federal Office for the Protection of Monuments, the reburial of an old cemetery as well as the famous mulberry tree (Natural Monument No.4 of the City of Vienna) right next to the construction pit are just some of the factors that make this project so special. In passing, probably no one suspects that behind the inconspicuous entrance of the hospital is a huge area: A 30,000m2 construction site is hidden in the middle of Vienna’s city center in the 3rd district. One of the historical finds was a women’s cemetery dating back to the 18th century, which had to be relocated in the course of the construction work, which required a lot of time and perseverance.

Building an inner-city nursing home was also a challenge in terms of construction logistics. There were only two access roads to the construction site, few storage areas, and the accompanying archaeological and monument protection issues always had to be taken into account. With this knowledge, the construction phases were timed in such a way that enough time was created for individual solutions that could only be worked out in the existing building. However, revitalizing parts of the 300-year-old inner-city monastery and combining it with a modern new building was a simply unique experience.

“The project team had to act prudently in the existing building, because literally no two stones were alike in the old building.”

Collaboration, writ large

There was a lot of appreciation from the client for the high quality of the architecture. DELTA’s architects still speak about the project with an enthusiasm that is incredible, even after many years. This is mainly due to the solution-focused, open and cooperative client, who responds to all challenges with aplomb and always solves them in perfect coordination together with the team. The human values of the order and the medical and nursing mission are strongly noticeable in the project and make the work special; satisfaction is high because the entire team can do something good for people in old age with this project. Depicting people in old age in our architecture was the greatest concern for us and for the client with its human religious values.

For Philipp Peneder, architect and project manager at DELTA PODS, the project is a great motivation: “I looked forward to coming into the office every day to continue working on this project. In the old building, we were able to see some things only in the existing building, which of course meant more work, but the motivation was very high to preserve this incredibly beautiful monastery with its rich history for future generations!”

Markus Hiden, Managing Director and architect at DELTA PODS, has been accompanying the project since 2014: “The joint building project with the Sovereign Order of Knights of Malta, the Elisabethinen Linz-Vienna and the Franziskus Spital helps to secure the location. Creating a center for the elderly in the middle of the city is meaningful work, simply the best motivation one can have for something. The same goes for the cooperation, which for so many years has always been constructive, appreciative and solution-oriented!”

Image credit: © David Schreyer