Antoniushaus – the area under the surface

The new Austrian Standard for barrier-free building, B 1600, issue 2011-04-01, contains rigorous requirements as regards protection against impact for full-height glass doors and areas of glazing that can be approached from two sides. The standard calls for a strong contrast between light and dark and an even, dense coating of the glass at a certain height. In addition to this requirement an old person’s home and nursing home of this size with its different services and user groups requires a system of routes that is as self-explanatory as possible.

The concept for the signage for the Antoniushaus is based on connecting what the regulations call for with something useful. In concrete terms this means breaking up the transparency of the glass surfaces by using typographical patterns, which at the same time communicate useful information that helps people find their way around this senior citizen’s residence and nursing home. The typography, individually adapted to the specific situation, covers the areas of glazing in the stipulated manner. The texts are stuck on to one side using a special black and white film. The legible texts always appear in white, whereas the back-to-front texts are black (and are legible as white texts from the other side). Through precise detailing it proved possible to meet the demands in terms of design, effective visual screening and an easily visible and legible guidance system.

The core facility in this building is “sheltered housing” with a total of 60 new dwelling units. The labelling or identification of these units was also carefully considered. The numbering of the rooms makes use of raised numerals fixed to the frame of the entrance door. Beside the number is a delicate shelf in the same kind of wood (ash) with an inserted name plate that can be easily exchanged. Something can be placed on this shelf or hung from it. This invites people to design their own “house entrance” within an ordered system, offers information that promotes a sense of identification with the facility, and shows empathy for the people who live here and their guests.