Christian Tonko

Sanatorium – A New Chapter in the Production of Bodies

The thesis focuses on architecture as being essentially entangled within a field of primarily economic and political forces. In classic modernity as well as in the contemporary age of sustainability architecture is largely understood as a machine which first of all must meet the ultimate requirement of efficiency. Architecture as a machine literally produces modern and sustainable humans in the sense that architecture administers the individual and manages the population. Therefore I am interested in the way architecture organizes bodies in relation to the given milieu in order to guarantee increase of productivity and continued progress. I am interested in the way architecture sets up routines, organizes behaviour, suggests procedures and governs the population in order to fulfil the dictate of efficiency and progress. The aim of my project is to question the regime of efficiency and to try to conceptualize an architecture which positions itself beyond the territory of power but is modern and sustainable nevertheless. The clearest example of classic modern architecture precisely organizing the position and the composure of the body in relation to the given milieu is Alvar Aaltos Paimio Tuberculosis Sanatorium.

Therefore it is of outmost interest to me to work on a sanatorium in the present age of sustainability. Today the organization of the body in space has to revaluate the relation between the body and the given milieu. Today a sanatorium also has to be an ecological machine. Of course the aim of the project described above remains. I will try to question the mechanisms of discipline and security within the modern ecological machine. Tuberculosis is not an issue anymore. This sanatorium is dedicated to rheumatic deseases.  As a site chose Austria’s only nuclear-power-plant: The AKW Zwentendorf is a symbol of inefficiency and political failure as it never went online despite the cost of 400 million Euros. Nuclear power is respectable again even amongst the hardcore greens as it produces no CO² emissions. The AKW Zwentendorf is situated within a natural reserve (like the Paimio Sanatorium) not far from Vienna. The reactor building is an enormous volume with extremely thick walls and already installed water circuits and is therefore a huge inert mass which could enable energetical efficiency without limitations in use.


Advisor: Nasrine Seraji