January 14th 2020

New life for an old cloister

Utilization concept from MCI students for the revitalization of St. Martin's Cloister in Gnadenwald - "Klosterlodge" as a place of diverse encounters for groups of up to 25 people - Project demonstrates practical relevance of the study program and integration of the MCI in the region




MCI students were invited to develop new utilization concepts for St. Martin's Cloister in Gnadenwald. Photo: MCI
MCI students were invited to develop new utilization concepts for St. Martin's Cloister in Gnadenwald. Photo: MCI

A very special project recently borne out of a practice-oriented integrative course offered by MCI Tourism: a new utilization concept for the St. Martin Cloister in Gnadenwald, which requires much renovation. Run for a long time by the Tertiary Sisters as a place of pilgrimage, the cloister is now empty and is to be revitalized. A jury selected the "Cloister Lodge" concept from the ideas developed by MCI students. The jury consisted of representatives of the diocese of Innsbruck, above all Bishop Hermann Glettler and Dean Franz Angermayer, the Mayor of the Gnadenwald Ulrich Mayerhofer, and representatives of Neue Heimat Tirol and MCI.

Situated with a majestic view of the Inn valley, a hunting lodge with a chapel in honor of St. Martin is said to have stood on the site of the present-day cloister as early as the 11th century. The first documented mention dates back to 1337. The Tertiary Sisters from Hall moved into the convent in 1935 and thus ran the boarding house, which accommodated pilgrims on the Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage, among others. Since the Tertiary Sisters moved out, the dilapidated cloister has continued to lay vacant. New concepts and ideas for its use have faced difficult hurdles: The cloister is a listed building, is located in an avalanche area and cannot be successfully managed with the previous capacity of 10 to 12 beds. However, the limited financial resources and above all its location in the red zone stand in the way of an expansion. Facing these challenges, MCI students were invited to develop new utilization concepts that would also stand up to a business audit.

MCI Professor Christoph Engl, who supervised the students in cooperation with his colleague Margit Schäfer, explains: "The students had the task of developing alternative ideas for use in the form of a business plan. In doing so, they were to consciously approach the limits of what was feasible and permissible". From a total of 10 group proposals, four were selected and presented to the jury. In the end, the winning project was the concept "Cloister Lodge", which facilitates the rental of the cloister for small groups of up to 25 people. The rooms can be used, for example, for workshops, seminars, team-building, cooking seminars, but also for family stays or individual travel groups. And of course the cloister also provides a wonderful setting for smaller celebrations. If required, external catering can also be booked. The cloister of St. Martin is to be marketed through its own website, among other things.

Further ideas that made the final round with the "Cloister Lodge": "Silent Retreat" proposed the utilization of St. Martin’s as a place of power and silence. The "House of Diversity", on the other hand, would have combined rental apartments with a café as a social common room and an art room. The "Klosterbrauerei" would have picked up on the craft beer trend and combined the centuries-old tradition of beer and monastery. What was common to all proposals was that the monastery should be available for locals and guests alike.

Mag. Susanne Crawford | Assistant & Project Manager Marketing & Communications
Mag. Susanne Crawford Assistant & Project Manager +43 512 2070 - 1526