New from old: BIG, MedUni Vienna and BauKarussell exploit the enormous re-use potential of MedUni Mariannengasse Campus

The Medical University of Vienna and Bundes- immobiliengesellschaft are to build the new MedUni Mariannengasse Campus on the site of the former Vienna Energy Center in Vienna’s Alsergrund district by the end of 2025. This will involve demolishing parts of the existing building complex, such as the multi-storey car park in Rummelhardtgasse, the building on Spitalgasse and the courtyard. All the buildings of Mariannengasse 4-6 and Höfergasse 8-12 that are either listed or within the protected zone will be converted and generally renovated in compliance with the applicable regulations. It is intended to carry out an intensive dismantling phase oriented towards recycling before mechanical demolition takes place. The initial preparations have been underway since October, working with BauKarussell, which is the first Austrian provider of recycling-oriented demolition.

"We are delighted that we have been able to secure BauKarussell as a project partner for the MedUni Mariannengasse Campus. We want to set an example for sustainable building and contribute to the circular and social economy through this collaboration. We are expecting significant financial and ecological added value over the conventional approach to demolition and waste disposal," confirms BIG CEO, Hans-Peter Weiss.

"As a leading medical institution, we are particularly concerned about the environmental and health aspects of building our new university campus," says MedUni Vienna's Vice Rector Volkan Talazoglu, "this also includes the careful and efficient use of existing resources. We are delighted that this project with BauKarussell also provides socio-economic benefits." BauKarussell has dedicated itself to the social circular economy: The useful life of objects and materials is extended as far as possible by means of fair jobs for disadvantaged people.

Added value through Social Urban Mining during demolition

The principles of circular economy are put into practice by the re-utilisation (re-use) and high-quality recovery of materials and components from the former Vienna Energy Center. "The future of the building sector lies in the smart use of resources – from the planning and building phase right through to the demolition phase. BauKarussell has set itself the task of fully exploiting the existing potential of buildings, by working with developers to turn the dismantling phase into a re-use phase and optimising the recovery of materials. We are pleased that BIG has entrusted us with this project and is making a stand for conservation of resources," explains architect Thomas Romm, founder of BauKarussell, the Urban Mining approach, supplemented by the attribute of "social" in the case of BauKarussell.

First re-use components available in the components catalogue

For BauKarussell, the work on the MedUni Mariannengasse Campus project involves, amongst other things, exposing ceiling elements that have to be removed as contaminants prior to demolition. But certain harmful substances, such as fluorescent tubes, are also being collected separately. In addition, BauKarussell will sell on as many reusable building components as possible before construction work is scheduled to start in autumn 2020. The first reusable components and materials are now being offered for public sale in a newly compiled components catalogue. The catalogue is now available online and interested parties can arrange an appointment to view components on site. All sales revenues will be used to cover BauKarussell's staffing and miscellaneous costs for the project and so benefit the long-term unemployed who work for it. "Even on the first visit we were able to identify relevant re-use potential in the property. Our component catalogue now includes numerous building components that are suitable for reuse in new properties – including the paternoster lift from the age of rapid industrial expansion, vintage cinema seats and even the projector screen.

Apart from the ecological aspects, our activities also add social value: the operational work such as dismantling and sorting has been underway since October, carried out by our socio-economic partners. This allows us to create employment for those who are disadvantaged in the labour market," emphasises Markus Meissner (pulswerk GmbH), BauKarussell project manager. This linking of social and circular economy in construction projects is pioneering, since it not only offers a model of resource conservation but also offers important labour market policy components.

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