Sleeping Beauty in Gersthof

Renovation of a protected monument and adaptation for usage as a school in Gersthof, Vienna

Photo: Andreas Buchberger

The one-hundred-year-old orthopaedic hospital in Gersthof will be refurbished from the ground up and adapted into a contemporary school complex. Our design carefully wakes the protected monument from its deep sleep to become a contemporary, transparent school building with a variety of open spaces.





In Progress

Net Usable Floor Area

7.520 m²

»This architectural specimen between late Secession, Art Déco, and Expressionism obviously enjoyed an in-house appreciation at any early point and has also, despite necessary interventions to meet the needs of its time, been fondly preserved to this day.«

Friedrich Achleitner in “Österreichische Architektur im 20. Jahrhundert,” vol. III/2

The former orthopaedic hospital in the 18th district is an architectural gem in the capital, albeit still rather unknown to many Viennese people. This characteristic building from the 1920s, however, with its long usage as a hospital, represents many challenges for its transformation into a contemporary school. In particular, the wing depth of just five metres approximately and the circulation spaces inside seem problematic at first glance. Instead of imposing a typical modern cluster school structure onto the historical substance, we unlock the unique potential of this charming architecture with a few strategic interventions.

From hospital to an open school

Independent orientation of the pupils and short distances within the building are central to an optimally functioning school. In order to ensure smooth circulation between the five storeys, we make use of the existing main staircase in the front wing and insert a new generous staircase in the back part of the building. In the layout the spacious staircases are offset diagonally and form two vertical cores. We open the poorly-lit central corridors, typical for this era, with glazed doors and niches in the inner walls. Scattered recess zones complement this lively artery on all levels; the existing balconies and terraces enhance this flexible free space all the more.

»Upon closer look, one quickly discovers the special charm and potential of the building.«

Robert Diem, Franz&Sue partner
Aus: Moderne Bauformen: Monatshefte für Architektur, Stuttgart, Jg. 1928

In a class of its own

To create space for bigger classrooms and common zones, it is necessary to remove some of the non-loadbearing inner walls. The wardrobe areas are integrated into the home classrooms, enabling flexible teaching rooms measuring 70 to 80 m2. The pupils’ lockers divide the space into a larger area for classic lessons and a smaller self-learning zone. The flaw of the narrow wing depths transforms into an attractive learning landscape.

»We cite the historic tilework of the existing staircase with a new ornamental tile pattern in the circulation areas and break rooms. The elegant atmosphere is enhanced with soft furniture and parquet floors in the classrooms.«

Suvi Repo, project leader of the competition team

Aus Schule wird Bildungscampus

Im Zuge der Sanierung und des Umbaus erhält das Gebäude auch zusätzliche Funktionen. Das ehemalige Verwaltungsgebäude des Spitals nahe des Haupteingangs wandeln wir in ein Haus der Naturwissenschaften um – mit allem, was dazugehört. In zwei Klassen werden die Lehrenden Biologie, Physik und Chemie erklären, im Labor können die SchülerInnen das Gehörte selbst umsetzen, experimentieren und Versuche durchführen.

Und noch etwas wird sich am Grundstück ändern und es zu einem vollwertigen Schulstandort aufwerten: Für den Sportunterricht errichten wir im Süden des Parks zwei multifunktionale Sportpavillons mit viel Tageslicht, die im Untergeschoß durch gemeinsame Garderoben verbunden sind. In der Turnhalle können die SchülerInnen sämtliche Ballsportarten ausüben, die Bewegungshalle besticht durch eine Boulderwand, eine faltbare Spiegelwand und eine Terrasse mit Blick über Wien. So ermöglicht sie ein vielfältiges Sportangebot wie Bouldern, Tanzen, Yoga und Gymnastik. Auch kann sie für Veranstaltungen wie Musikaufführungen oder Lesungen genutzt werden. Nach außen gliedern sich die beiden pavillonartigen Hallen mit ihrer geschuppten Holzfassade in den Park ein, im Inneren offenbart sich eine helle Sportwelt, die durch den konstruktiven und haptischen Einsatz von Holz und durch vielfältige Nutzungsmöglichkeiten geprägt ist.

Green as far as the eye can see

One of the strongest features of this building is its surroundings – embedded in a park landscape from fairy tales, ideal for playing children, teachers on walks, and dreamy views. We intensify this relationship to the green space by activating all balconies and loggias on the east side; the sunny zone with loggias to the south is preserved. The outdoor terrain is lowered by about a metre to facilitate access to the outside on ground level. The garden floor with the cafeteria, a common zone, and a library leads to an arcade court with seating steps, where one can take a rest or stroll right out into the garden.

Floor plan 1st floor

Floor plan 3rd floor

Site plan

Type Of Commission

EU-weit offenes Verhandlungsverfahren



Gross Floor Area

9.180 m²

Scope Of Commission



Wien, Österreich


In Progress



Net Usable Floor Area

7.520 m²


Corinna Toell (Teamleiterin), Johannes Alge (PL), Ema Stojević, Julia Aigner, Daniel Löschenbrand, Maximilian Ebner, Thomas Huck, Paulina Lakomiec, Natali Stefanova, Suvi Repo, Angela Lulati

Structural Engineer


Building Physics


Building Services

Bauklimatik, Hross & Partner

Landscape Planning


Fire Safety Planning

Hoyer Brandschutz