Convent near Innsbruck
Founded in 1846 on the outskirts of Innsbruck, the convent was later engulfed by the expanding city. In search of seclusion, the nuns decided in favour of a new building on an attractive sloping site outside the provincial capital. Although solitude and contemplation play a major role in the Carmelite order, the nuns wished to retain a link with the guest tract, in order to remain in contact with believers who take part in meditation and prayer. Instead of a courtyard that opens to the outside world, as the architect suggested, the nuns’ needs are reflected in a traditional cloister. The architects had to revise a number of their concepts, including that for a more open, communicative chapel. The nuns plan to make their own adjustments, too: the tabernacle, as the most important object in the liturgy, will form the focus of the internal zone; the altar and ambo, on the other hand, can besituated outside the closed area. The latter is shut off by a grating, which allows visual contact between the two realms. On the insistence of the nine nuns who live in the convent, other areas were also designed in an introverted form, with openings and visual contact restricted to a minimum. The outcome is a strict cellular structure that reflects the principles of the order.