Die Maulbeere

Neslihan Kiran

Currently a centre for elderly people is being developed at Wien Mitte by Die Elisabethinen in cooperation with Franziskus Spital and Malteser Ordenshaus. On this occasion students of the university could contribute ideas for the redesign of the entrance of the hospital. The proposed design is a tree-like structure on the façade – a shelf with different platforms, spaces in-between and showcases – communicating with the public space.

The idea was inspired by the founding myth of Die Elisabethinen monastery – based on the mulberry tree. 300 years ago, after a long journey from the Elisabethinen convent in Graz, three nuns could find shelter under a mulberry tree. The same old tree still stands in the monastery garden today and will be the centre for the rebuilt hospital.

The roof of the shelf symbolizes the crown of the tree. The branches run along the joints of the building and the tree bears fruits in the form of showcases of different sizes. Seen from the outside, the objects exhibited in the showcases tell a story about the inside of the centre for elderly people – about the identities and stories of its inhabitants. The idea was to offer something that links the inhabitants with the people from the neighbourhood and gives the place an identity-forming framework. The architectural installation is further equipped with seating facilities covered with a roof to enable social contacts.

The overall aim was to create a place with a history and where people in public space can “sit down for a chat with the neighbour, as they used to do on the bench in front of their house in the village", as architect Peter Zumthor once stated about the meaning of public space

June 2019
Neslihan Kiran