Born to Greek-Austrian parents in Vienna, Elena Strubakis grew up in a multicultural setting. Having resided in both countries for extended periods of time, she has experienced their idiosyncrasies up close. Childhood and education were influenced by both school systems and she is well rooted in both worlds. Drawing and painting came quite naturally to her early on in life and she began designing bridges in her teens.
By a twist of fate Elena met Oskar Kokoschka at the age of ten, who took a liking to her early drawings. Over the next year and a half a mentorship evolved exposing her to advanced aspects of drawing. When a family emergency required her to move to Greece this relationship ended abruptly. However, driven by her ever increasing love for the arts she did use this difficult phase in her life to acquire traditional Greek-Byzantian painting techniques.
She ultimately returned to Austria to focus on undergraduate education and obtained her high school diploma (Matura). Concerned about not being able to make a living based on arts alone, she embarked on studying architecture and eventually became an architectural designer. Samples of the numerous buildings she worked on include the IALC-Hospital in Durban, South Africa, where she was tasked with its functional design and artistic supervision. Combining architectural skills with a deep sense of aesthetic appreciation, she seamlessly integrated operational requirements of this state of the art hospital with the unique and subtle aspects of African culture and art. When designing the Hospital of the Future in Sittard, Netherlands, Elena introduced an entirely new workflow for providing medical services. Not only do patients feel at home as barriers between patients, doctors and nurses are torn down, but novel logistical concepts combined with the latest available technologies allow for previously unattained efficiency. This innovative facility was honored by Queen Beatrix who led its inauguration ceremony.
Elena also embraces the literary arts. In her latest piece she translated Iakovos Kambanellis' "Mauthausen" ("Μαουτχαουζεν") from Greek to German. "Die Freiheit kam im Mai" — a literary transcription done particularly well — earned her the 2010 Translation Award from the „Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture”.