The Purkersdorf Sanatorium and the Fusion of Function and Design
Stark white and machine-like from a distance, the Purkersdorf Sanatorium designed by Austrian architect Josef Hoffmann emanates a feeling of sterility. However, the building also exhibits a hint of luxurious charm upon closer observation. As the first major commission for the Wiener Werkstätte company, Josef Hoffmann was determined to introduce his forward looking ideas to the era. Through the sanatorium, Hoffmann successfully demonstrated not only the visual appeals of modern simplicity but also how modernism was appropriately adjusted to enhance the building’s intended purpose.
Having studied under renowned architect Otto Wagner, Josef Hoffmann was familiar with the…show more content… Even the lamps, tables and window designs mirror similar geometric patterns. By doing so, what Hoffmann has created is a harmonious environment that is both practical and visually soothing The sanatorium provided a diverse offering of programs and resources to patients. Their services included hydrotherapy, electrotherapy, special diets, etc. Their facilities included billiard rooms, reading rooms, music rooms, saloons, etc. Patients could access everything they needed to feel comfortable. The effective layout planning of the building contributed to effective therapy practices. Utilities and services were hidden in the basement, social gathering and dining spaces were on the first floor, and living quarters were on the second and third floors. This separation of spaces due to functions created an intuitive organizational structure. The luxury and layout referenced the style of a grand hotel, but included many quality health related benefits. With an array of functional offerings, each room in the sanatorium was designed to best serve the function of the room. For example, the bedrooms intended for tuberculosis patients had the largest windows to allow the greatest amount of sunlight possible.5
Just as functionally focused as the exterior, Hoffmann used the same concept of practicality when designing the interior elements of the Purkersdorf Sanatorium. As a traditionally trained artist, Hoffmann was not just an architect, but innovator in