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Dornbirn Birkenwiese nursing home

The surroundings owe their character to the Dornbirner Ach river: its tree lined dam acting as an important natural spine which divides the city. The train line running along a dam and the historic streets radiating from the river also make their mark on the area. Fan-shaped apartment blocks to the southwest and a small scale housing estate in the northeast define the surrounding built environment. A unique feature of the area is its relationship with the parkland setting of the Ach and, from higher up, the views of the mountain ridge. The new four storey nursing home takes the form of a compact building parallel to the Ach. Such thoughtful positioning is a reference to the fanned layout of neighbouring buildings along the railway line, but also completes this composition at the urban scale. All areas are grouped around a central cloistered atrium with seating areas. Each of the three uppermost storeys houses a nursing station with two divisible groups of 15 private rooms. Both such groups are clustered around a planted courtyard, flooding all interiors with natural light. So conceived as to offer lounge niches, it is also possible to walk closed loops inside and out. The new building will be constructed of solid masonry covered with prefabricated timber façades. By reducing the façade to a few different elements, simple variations give a sense of variety while the singularity of material maintains a sense of calm order. The interior is finished in a harmonious interplay of warm hued concrete and native timber which stimulates every sense and creates a homely atmosphere out of natural, familiar materials.

Design Team: Andreas Cukrowicz, Anton Nachbaur-Sturm, Christian Schmölz
Client: Stadt Dornbirn
Competition 2010 3rd Prize