Heritage Alert: Otto-Wagner-Hospital, Steinhof, Vienna
Update February 2017
ICOMOS International and ICOMOS Austria have sent a new letter to the Vice Mayor of the City of Vienna, Mag. Maria Vassilakou, expressing concern on latest developments - the cutting down of trees in preparation for new constructions; reminding of recommendations made by ICOMOS in March 2016 and renewing its call that "all construction plans should be stopped until the presentation of the WSE study and the conclusion of the necessary discussions that should follow".
ICOMOS international and ICOMOS Austria have written to the Mayor of the City of Vienna to express their deep concern at the situation of the Otto-Wagner-Hospital, Steinhof, in Vienna, owned by the City of Vienna.
The significance of the site as an extensive ensemble, built from 1903-1907 by Otto Wagner with the participation of Heinrich Goldemund, among others, is beyond doubt and has been confirmed by several scientific studies. The importance refers to both the architectural characteristics and the spatial planning of the site, including the horticultural design of the gardens. In addition, its relevance to developments in medical and therapeutic history are eminent and therefore of major cultural value.
Whilst the core area (Kernbereich, pavilions and church) of the site benefits of Statutory Monument Protection, no protection is afforded to the so called economic area (Wirtschaftsbereich) in the eastern part and today the site is gravely endangered by:
- Already newly erected constructions (VAMED) and buildings under construction;
- Change in land use/dedication of the so called economic area (Wirtschaftsbereich) in the eastern part of the ensemble;
- The planned closing of hospital services within the next decade.
Also a number of the historic structures are in an increasingly poor state of conservation.
ICOMOS therefore again calls upon the authorities of Vienna and Austria not to allow economic aspects to override the cultural importance of the ensemble and to urgently:
- Extend the status of protection to also include the so called economic area (Wirtschaftsbereich) in the eastern part of the site;
- Reconsider the development and conservation concept for the entire area;
- Develop a usage programme for the future when the hospital services close, which takes into consideration the exceptional importance and history of the whole ensemble.
Above : Detail of the Dome of the Kirche am Steinhof / walter_a_aue on Flickr
Below : Kirche am Steinhof/ jo.schz on Flickr