Sargfabrik, which can be literally translated as a “Coffin factory”, is the biggest self-governing community in West Vienna, containing several living “maisonette”, spaces for workshops, a concert hall, an underground swimming pool open 24h, a kindergarten, a roof-top terrace and many other smaller gardens and playgrounds, and a bar&restaurant.
I discovered the place quite late after moving here, despite living just a few meters away from it, as it is quite secluded from public transit. (as any other Hof or inner courtyard in Vienna, actually). As it turns out, they even have a fish market every Thursday, and organize quite a few concerts every month, mostly from with “world music” (ethnic influences, but also a lot of local artists).
The concept of the building is definitely not something new to Vienna, as other similar places have emerged recently (Kabelwerk is another example), and could actually be traced back to the Rotes Wien period (which I will write about in a future blog post). Yes, many will say there is no connection between this artsy place, the Karl Mark Hof, and the post-capitalist Kabelwerk, but I beg to differ. :)
In any case, the concept and the architecture are quite interesting, and you can find out more about similar projects elsewhere in the world on this website.
Finally, in case you are left wondering why it’s called “Sargfabrik”, the explanation is simple: the place was built on the ground of an old coffin factory. They still kept the furnace tower (not really sure why you would need a furnace in a coffin factory, though).
By looking at the place from Google Maps, it looks like there is still place to extend the complex, as there is empty ground left after demolishing the factory.