As banking has become just another online function, banks are no longer needed to house money or bankers. When postage stamps and telegrams have become relics, buildings are no longer needed for the services or the bureaucrats.
What we are left with in many cities and towns are historically significant, empty bank, post-office and telegraph buildings anchoring key corners of main streets.
All of these buildings are not worth saving but many are. Often, however, the buildings are too large and expensive to remodel or maintain and so they end up sitting vacant, waiting for the next page to turn in their story.
In Vienna, the 19th century telephone exchange building at Lehargasse 7 has turned a new leaf as the new headquarters of the Viennese real estate company, JP Immobilien Group.
Designed by Viennese architectural firm, BEHF Architects, the newly named Telegraf 7 – Office Building includes the JP Immobilien offices, meeting rooms and additional event space in the gallery.
The project design took full advantage of the impressive height, ceiling frescoes and pillars of the main hall.
The offices are almost transparent buildings-within-building that, with their minimal design features allow the ornate original structure to stand out.
There is an overall feel of amicable discourse between ornate and minimalist, historical and contemporary, old use and new use, permanent and temporary, light and dark.
We suspect that a discussion between Eugen Fassbender, the architect of the Telefonzentrale building in1899, and Armin Ebner, the designer and concept creator at BEHF, would have been just as amicable.
Both succeeded in connecting functionality and representative design elegantly. Tuija Seipell.