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History of the Campus of the University of Vienna

The transformation of the former General Hospital to the Campus of the University of Vienna at the end of the 20th century is not the first rededication in the history of this building complex in the "Alservorstadt".   

Emperor Joseph II. (1741-1790) remodeled the large poor house which had existed since the 17th century into a General Hospital along the lines of the Hôtel Dieu in Paris. The inscription at the main entrance from the Alserstraße documents the Josephin transformation:
"Saluti et solatio aegrorum – Josephus II. Augustus Anno MDCCLXXXIV" (To save and to comfort the sick - Emperor Joseph II. 1784)

The large hospital (today's courts 1-7) was planned by the court's master builder Joseph Gerl (1734-1798) under the direction of the court's doctor and first director of the General Hospital, Joseph von Quarin (1733–1814). It was opened on August 16th, 1784. 

The new hospital also included a birthing house, a foundling hospital and the madhouse built in 1783 according to the design of Isidor Canevale (commonly known as "mad tower" or "Emperor Joseph's ring cake");today it houses the Federal Pathologic-Anatomical Museum).

The buildings of the courtyards 8 and 9 are part of the expansions under Emperor Francis I. (1804-1835), as the inscription over the gate to the Garnisongasse indicates: "Saluti et solatio aegrorum Franciscus I. MDCCCXXXIV" (To save and to comfort the sick Francis I. 1834) 

In research, the General Hospital played an important role. Personalities of international standing of the Vienna Medical School, from Ignaz Semmelweis (1818-1865), Theodor Billroth (1829-1894) to Karl Landsteiner (1868-1943) worked here.

Also see: "Universitätsbauten des 20. Jahrhunderts" (Archiv der Universität Wien) (in German)


Alfred Ebenbauer, Wolfgang Greisenegger, Kurt Mühlberger (eds.): Universitätscampus Wien. Wien 1998
Band 1: Historie und Geist
Band 2: Architektur als Transformation

At the end of the 1990ies, the new Campus of the University of Vienna was created at the site of the General Hospital. The huge building from the 18th century was redesigned with interesting architectural solutions, and became the home of different cultural studies departments. 

In two volumes, different authors portray this campus. 
The first volume offers the history of the General Hospital and working papers from cultural studies.
In the second volume, the architects report on the motives of the task of transforming an old building according to today's needs.

Jalil H. Saber Zaimian (2005): Ein Modell zur baulichen Transformation. Leitlinien zur Bauerneuerung aufgrund der Analyse des Umbaues vom Alten Allgemeinen Krankenhaus zum Universitätscampus in Wien. Eindhoven (Niederlande): Bouwstenen.

The project of a structural conversion of a hospital into an universitary campus served as a case-study for the development of a model for converting building structures entailing humane, ecological, technical and architectural criteria as guidelines.

The book in German (PDF-Download):
1.   Einführung
2.   Historische Grundlagen
3.   Das komplexe Neubauprojekt
4.   Der Umbauprozess
5.   Zusammenfassender Rückblick und Voraussicht
6.   Prinzipien und Kriterien für Beurteilungen
7.   Vergleichbare Projekte
8.   Entwicklung Leitlinien und Modell
9.   Ergebnis
10. Schlusskonklusion
11. Anhang

Campus of the University of Vienna

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