• CRABstudio, London

    Sir Peter Cook and his CRABstudio are the architects in charge of designing the south-western area of the Campus, their architecture recalling their own student days. Reaching out towards the green space of the Prater, the construction of an organic structure is under way, winding around several courtyards, passages, recesses, terraces, atriums, squares and public spaces with landscaped seating arrangements. The material dominating the façade is untreated larch wood, which will change colour as time passes and as light conditions change – mirroring the play of colours in the nearby Prater. The building will house various departments (Department of Business, Employment and Social Security Law, Department of Public Law and Tax Law), research institutes and the specialized library for business law as well as the Rector’s Office and other administrative units of the University.

    When the time comes for alumni to remember the days they spent in this building, we think they will never have forgotten a certain feeling of space, which they might possibly describe as “clear-cut, certainly, but not institutional”. This sensation is difficult to define, particularly, if the best conversations take place outside classes where the focus is on the formalization of that blurred area between the “academic” and the “social”. When elaborating the project, we were anxious from the outset to maintain an almost “club-like” room arrangement while simultaneously streamlining technical and organisational aspects.

    Although state authorities and university curricula specify suitable room clusters, we are of the opinion that architecture can contribute to enriching university life. For this reason, with our plentiful pleasant experiences in mind, we decided to examine all building components throughout the entire design process in terms of separation/remoteness, proximity and coincidence. The best university milieus can only come into existence if all three elements are present.

    Our terraces, courtyards and passages have a relaxed character which reflects the general atmosphere of the department. It must be possible to recognize the parts, but they must not be boring. Their sober, rectilinear work areas permit, when needed, a filtered glimpse of further “filters”: the trees in the Prater.

    On the inside, however, each department or section can be defined and identified.
  • CONTEXT: The Campus

    All these issues were clearly kept in mind, when developing the master plan for the Campus, which tells us a lot about the way in which public space can enrich student experience. But we do not want to forget all those who are no longer first-year students, the academic world, and all those professors who come to Vienna from Europe or overseas in order to give lectures and seminars.

    The spaces they experience relate to the most varied circumstances: squares and atriums alternate with secluded courtyards or end in passages or niches. Oxford, Heidelberg or Kyoto are not only charming because of their romantic aestheticism, but also because of the sensitivity with which exterior space, as it were, has developed.

    Our buildings have grown out of this approach and are interrelated with the episodes we all remember from our own academic experience.

    As already mentioned, the master plan lays down many guidelines pointing to an approach which sees the processes that take place in the open spaces as “episodes”. We have expressed this in an architectural design which unfolds in passages, niches, terraces, semi-enclosed areas that open into courtyards and, finally, in the open space.

    The Prater is often referred to as Vienna’s ‘green lung’, and in this case it certainly exerts a liberating effect which mitigates architectural rigidity.

    We have also tried to establish as many relationships as possible between inside and outside. Towards the Prater these are simple sequences of grouping and formation of space, while on the northern side they blend into a series of Campus areas.
  • ARCHITECTURE: The Building

    When you walk through the University towards this building, you follow a convoluted path passing courtyards, passages and seating arrangements. Seduced by the clearly articulated “tongue”, you end up at the central key point of the entrance area from which all departments can be reached.

    We focused primarily on the subtle interaction between the research sector and the departments: leaving the library behind, you stay and identify with the stepped courtyard which forms the roof of the library; however, the individual building components have a direct horizontal relationship with each of the departments.

    The building coils gently southwards, while extending into the space to the north, resulting in a number of corners and niches that anticipate the squares on the Campus.
  • Oct. 2009 – Oct. 2013
    Baustellenfotos Departmentgebäude 3
  • 07/14/2011
    Von Aussen
  • 05/18/2012
    Von Innen
  • 07/14/2011
  • 12/19/2011
  • 12/19/2011
  • 12/31/2012
  • 03/03/2012
    CRABstudio, London
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