The Lebenshilfe Weiz non-profit association looks back on decades of experience in providing care to people with disabilities.
In addition to a growing number of specialised services and an assisted living development, special attention is given to integrating clients, as they are known, into a productive everyday routine and creative work processes.
The physical manifestation of this objective is the day centre, that was based at the Lebenshilfe’s headquarters in Brachtergasse together with the full-time assisted living unit. Despite several additions, the capacity of these premises was exhausted, and so an invited architectural competition was held. The task was to build a new day centre on a nearby disused allotment site. The new centre was to serve as a place for people to come together at different levels.
In this first-prize-winning design, Ederer and Haghirian therefore apply the fundamental creed of “self-confident integration” to the concept of their architecture, too.
The building site is located on a gentle slope on the eastern edge of the Weiz basin. A large settlement in the form of four-storey residential buildings, built in the 1960s, abuts on the site in the west. The rest of the site is surrounded by older detached houses. One aim was to create a link between these two different scales. This was accomplished by the new building following the line of the street on two storeys on the side of the residential blocks and thus forming a prestigious urban situation. On the slope side, the building is dug in so as to enter into a dialogue with the smaller neighbouring buildings in the form of a single-storey façade.
The new day centre is a clear-cut cubic body. By means of its strip windows and white plaster, it evokes memories of the elegant design of residential, health and leisure buildings of classical modernism. The façades are accentuated by incisions, whose wooden covering is somehow suggestive of a soft core of the volume.
The building is entered through a stately lobby, from where the lift and stairs go up to the upper storey. On the left, this area is flanked by the guest service area. This fully appointed café is a meeting-place for visitors to the centre and also serves as an exhibition space for the goods produced here. This is adjoined by a dining-room served by a self-operated, professionally equipped kitchen.
A central element of the design is the wood-covered interior courtyard with its tree. Arranged around it are the dining-room, therapy, work and group rooms for the fifty people working here. It serves as a multifunctional leisure area and as a “landmark”. By means of the clever positioning of the surrounding rooms and the generous use of opaque and transparent glazing, the rooms and corridors all have natural lighting.
The building’s ring-shaped circulation offers a circular walk rich in variety, that affords views both inside and outside the building. The actual work areas are divided into a textile, wood and open creative/art workshop. In order to emphasise the different workshops, the floors are of different colours. In general-use areas, an inconspicuous signage system helps people find their way around, with carpentered installations such as cloak-rooms and kitchens accentuated with special colours.
The top floor houses the administrative and staff rooms, along with the day centre – an area that provides care for young people and adults with high-level and highest-level disabilities. This facility benefits particularly from the many different opportunities offered by the building in terms of function and communication. Both the day centre and the staff area have spacious terraces for outdoor leisure and activities. The situation on the slope means that both storeys have barrier-free access, thus avoiding the need for complicated fire-protection measures that would detract from the open layout of the rooms.
In this way, the architects have created a spatial continuum that, like a “promenade architecturale”, offers its occupants a host of different appeals and opportunities to experience the building with their senses. The sequence of concentrated work areas and clearly arranged communicative zones gives the people working here freedom of choice and ideal conditions for productive coexistence.
The Lebenshilfe Weiz non-profit association looks back on decades of experience in providing care to people with disabilities. In addition to a growing number of specialised services and an assisted living development, special attention is given to integrating clients, as they are known, into a productive everyday routine and creative work processes. The physical manifestation of this objective is the day centre, that was based at the Lebenshilfe’s headquarters in Brachtergasse together...
- Year 2010
- Work finished in 2010
- Status Completed works
- Type Nursing homes, rehabilitation centres