Exhibition in Lobby of Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft, Vienna
Start: 17 March, 2023
Exhibition at Otto Wagner Postsparkasse, Vienna
13 October – 25 November, 2022
Exhibition at Aedes Architecture Forum, Berlin
19 March – 5 May, 2022
Universities and their buildings unite space, science, education and social life. Based on this content-related and spatial concept, the new type of “university as an urban campus” connects university locations with public spaces and creates interactions with the neighbourhood. The exhibition of the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft (BIG) – an owner of federal real estate in Austria – shows how good vibrations emerge from architectural discourse and urban planning by means of nine realised conversions and new buildings. The examples designed by national and international architects in Vienna, Graz, and Linz prove that campus and city are no longer separated from each other, but are instead entangled for their mutual benefit. Plans, photos and videos are presented, as well as a collage of urban planning models from all nine projects as a central installation.
Campus and City
The 1960s and 1970s were an era of new beginnings for the establishment and construction of new universities. Europe oriented itself toward the United States as an embodiment of democracy and progress – modern universities were created as campuses in green surroundings, with flat, open structures. Since they were often situated remotely from city centres, they formed an opposite pole to historical urban universities with their generous open spaces. Meanwhile, extensive investments in educational infrastructure are once again being made and universities are growing. But today, climate change and the digital transformation are totally redefining the parameters. Contemporary teaching is interdisciplinary and dialogue- and process-oriented, and calls for a very specific architecture. Students require technical, scientific, and spatial infrastructure as well as places for encounters, discourse, concentrating, appropriating, and participating. As a model for the creation of functional spaces, university architecture also has to interact with its surroundings from the perspective of urban development and be so structurally flexible that it can anticipate future changes.
New University Buildings in Austria
As one of the biggest real estate owners, the Austrian Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft (BIG) develops and manages public buildings around the country, including roughly 350 university buildings – from Renaissance jewels to modern university campuses. With the “urban university campus”, it is promoting a contemporary type that produces a connection between open space and interaction with the city. One of BIG’s important objectives is creating vital locations that satisfy the human need for stimulating, multifaceted surroundings by means of innovative new buildings and large-scale renovations. It prefers a holistic perspective and pursues far-reaching strategies – with architecture competitions as a basis for successful work. Not only campuses on the periphery, but also traditional urban universities each have their particular deficiencies. Urbanity and life are missing from campuses on the periphery, and open space and greenery from those in the city centre. Successful compensation, as BIG generally strives for, results in a convergence of these two models, and, in the best case, in a link between them. The focus is on transforming the existing stock of buildings, which thus also makes a significant contribution to reducing CO2 emissions. The “urban university campus” is often integrated into historical urban structures, which have been modernized by means of extensions, retrofits, and annexes. This applies, for instance, to the further developments of the University of Applied Arts in the densely built up city centre of Vienna, where existing open spaces in the carefully adapted building stock were sought out and interwoven with the existing buildings: here, an interior courtyard, atrium, street, and square form a new spatial structure for interaction that is open to diverse uses. The first campus in Austria—the Johannes Kepler University in Linz, which was constructed in the 1960s—has also been integrated with its surroundings in recent years through targeted interventions and building extensions.
The exhibition Good Vibrations, curated by the architect Peter Riepl, presents selected examples of new campus locations in the urban context. The various manifestations of the “urban campus” in Austria are depicted contextually in an environmental model at a scale of 1:1.300, which forms the central installation. Films, pictures, and texts provide further insights into the campus locations designed by national and international architects.
Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft m.b.H. (BIG) is one of the largest real estate owners in Austria. It develops, builds, maintains and revitalises 2,000 properties. The portfolio of BIG consists of schools, official buildings and universities. Office and residential properties are bundled in the subsidiary ARE Austrian Real Estate GmbH. Many properties are listed buildings, the oldest ones dating back to the Middles Ages. BIG has been striving to perfect the university as a place of research, teaching and interaction since its foundation in 1992. In cooperation with universities and the Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, BIG is in charge of planning the further expansion of Austria’s university locations. International climate targets are rigorously observed or even accelerated. Artworks (BIG ART) in public buildings initiate a dialogue with the population. BIG organises competitions to guarantee high-class architecture and received over ten builder-owner awards as well as prestigious international architecture awards in recent years.
Pretty much everything at the campus of the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) was new: the mission statement, the organisation of teaching, the wish of cosmopolitanism, methodical diversity, and interaction with the city. Its realisation demanded everyone’s unconditional faith in the vision of a new type of campus. Even the choice of property right next to the Green Prater park was a statement. This part of the city has never had any kind of university tradition. WU relied on the charisma and appeal of international signature architecture. NO.MAD Arquitectos, Estudio Carme Pinós, Zaha Hadid Architects, Atelier Hitoshi Abe, CRAB Studio with Peter Cook and BUSarchitektur planned the buildings. Their individual styles were intended to guarantee diversity and establish a new WU identity. Integrating these singular voices into a bigger picture presented BUSarchitektur — in charge of master, general and open space planning — with a tremendous challenge. Campus WU extends across 90,000 square metres, situated apart from Vienna’s classic university sites on the other side of the Danube Canal in Vienna’s second district. It was completed on a piece of land between the Messe Wien exhibition grounds to the north and a newly developed premium office area in line with campus plans to the east. Its southern edge transitions into the Green Prater park.Emperor Joseph II had opened the former imperial hunting grounds of the Habsburgs to the public in 1766. Today the park is a popular leisure area and the city’s green lung, once defined by tourism, entertainment and demi-monde. Campus WU gave the area a new character. The red-light
district gave way to the hustle and bustle of cosmopolitan students in an urban and photogenic environment. The old WU was located along the Vienna Gürtel road just a few tram stops from the main building of the University of Vienna. It was part of a — at the time highly modern — technoid building complex. Already too small when it was opened in 1982, the old WU suffered from a notorious lack of space. With the Universities Act passed in 2002, WU was able to reinvent itself. In December 2007, WU hosted an EU-wide open architectural competition for the general planning of the campus; in May 2009, BUSarchitektur emerged as the winner of the competition. In a next step, the jury selected internationally renowned architects for the other building plots. Campus WU was opened on 4 October 2013. Zaha Hadid — already a famous star architect back then — designed the flagship building: the Library & Learning Center. A masterstroke of architecture, the futuristic structure congenially embodies the future-oriented WU corporate identity. Its white base with service centres for students communicates a dynamic character. The spectacular, multistorey, white entrance hall with its rounded corners, stairways, spiral ramps and galleries is a central point of contact, hub, ceremonial hall, communication and transit zone. The anthracitecoloured section of the building towers 36 metres above the square below and is dedicated to the WU University Library. At the intersection point of all paths, the LC building equally serves as a magnetic force field for the orientation of all other buildings. 143,000 square metres of net floor area, 4,000 rooms as well as 90 lecture halls and seminar rooms are distributed across 35,000 m2 of built-up campus area, the remaining 55,000 m2 are publicly accessible grounds. 25,000 students and 1,500 employees study and work on Campus WU. The series of impressive buildings starts off with the WU Executive Academy near the Messe Wien exhibition grounds designed by NO.MAD Arquitectos, Madrid. The outer façade of twisted and blended cubes shimmering in black is divided into vertical and horizontal areas, featuring different degrees of transparency. Once inside, students find two-storey lecture halls and intriguingly mirrored rooms. The department building D3 and the administrative building AD by Peter Cook and CRAB Studio is particularly polarising. The WU staff loves it. In the 1970s, the walking, plug-in and city utopias in Peter Cook’s Archigram caused a sensation; his WU designs are reminiscent of pop art and comic strips. The organic-looking ensemble is characterised by a striped façade, ranging from vermillion to orange and yellow, with untreated wooden planks providing not only a lively structure but also protection from heat. The complex includes numerous passages, niches, terraces with plants, atriums, and open spaces with benches coiling around pillars that offer a quiet atmosphere and attractive views of the neighbouring Prater park. The department building D4 by Estudio Carme Pinós conveys elegance in black and white with its slim elements and meandering façade structure (net floor area: 16.700 m2, photo: page 22). Right next to the Library & Learning Center by Zaha Hadid are the Teaching Center and department building D1 by BUSarchitekur: eye-catching elements with a façade made of pre-weathered Corten steel, which changes colour with weather. Vivid just like fur on an animal. Inside and outside: flights of stairs, seating steps, ramps, galleries, lecture halls, open learning zones. Magnificent rooms, very ambitious, great atmosphere. The department building D2 and Students Center by Japanese architect Hitoshi Abe also houses a kindergarten, a supermarket and a bar. Reduced Japanese style in multiple layers, it point in the direction out of town. As a public runway and versatile stage for students, the grounds outside connect all the buildings. Urban cobblestones in the middle combined with green edges create different atmospheres. The open space features benches, fountains, ping-pong tables and hills covered in sports surface. The outside vegetation offers a variety of different combinations of colours and shapes appearing throughout the year. Campus WU is already an integral part of the city. Vienna’s population — not only from the neighbourhood — uses the campus to go running, for leisure activities, to go out or shopping. Bottom line: there is a Vienna before and a Vienna after the opening of Campus WU.
The University of Applied Arts has always been striving for superlatives. Its origins date back to the Imperial Royal Austrian Museum of Art and Industry, closely affiliated with the Imperial Royal Arts and Crafts School. Heinrich von Ferstel, one of the most important architects of his time, planned the buildings of both the museum and the school at Vienna’s Stubenring: true jewels of Late Historicism. Its teachers — including the in many ways pioneering architect Otto Wagner — turned it into a breeding ground for talent, such as Austria’s first female architect, Margarete Schütte-Lihotzky. In the mid-1960s, Max Fellerer, Eugen Wörle and Karl Schwanzer built the school’s first extension. They placed a structure of reinforced concrete with huge windows and brick balustrades in a precise grid on the other side of the historical Gründerzeit building. 90 metres long, 18 metres wide, it seems to glide along the Wienfluss river. The inner courtyard surprises with a sculptor’s workshop in form of pavilion in exposed concrete; a three-storey connecting structure serves as the joint and hub between old and new. Until 2018 the architects Riepl Kaufmann Bammer renovated the building ensemble. They removed all additions and extensions, and restored its structure of exposed concrete pillars and ribbed ceilings. The windows were replaced and a modular system developed for the technical infrastructure, room dividers, interior walls, doors, staircases and the like. Everything is easy to read and reversible. Moreover, the public administration building by Alois Schumacher from 1895-1901 was added to the University of Applied Arts. It is situated in sight on the other side of the Wienfluss river. Behind the façade with Corinthian half columns, the entire historical Gründerzeit building was once dedicated to red tape and public officials. The architects preserved its shell, the old staircase and the outermost ring of offices. The heart of the building was replaced by a large atrium with a glass roof and structurally still integral, wraparound galleries in exposed concrete. The atrium opens up the offices and creates a communicative environment. An auditorium with library stands in the middle of this public square like an independent piece of furniture. The Swiss structural engineers Conzett Bronzini Partner calculated the static system to realise the enormous atrium. Riepl Kaufmann Bammer are currently converting the campus of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, which will be using Otto Wagner’s renovated Postal Savings Bank together with the University of Applied Arts Vienna, creating a sort of knowledge cluster in the inner city. Their main building, a rare example of French Baroque by Jean Nicolas Jadot, is already fully renovated. The former Jesuit College on the opposite side will soon be completed and open its previously closed arcade court to the public to become part of the city. This green oasis is larger than the square in front of the building; both will be connected to create a coherent green space. Otto Wagner’s iconic Postsparkasse building is close by and about to become a university site as well. The listed Art Nouveau icon will be used by the Academy of Sciences, the University of Applied Arts, the Johannes Kepler University Linz, the Austrian Science Fund FWF and other arts and science institutions together. The iconic Large Banking Hall is planned to become a “Vienna Salon” with cuisine and culture.
MED CAMPUS Graz is an accomplishment in urban development of rare consistency. After completion of an open architecture competition, construction began in 2013. Riegler Riewe Architekten condensed a complex ensemble of lecture halls, laboratories and seminar rooms into a modular structure. The campus is located in the northeast of the city right next to the University Hospital Graz. It basically consists of several parallel office and laboratory structures at a distance of four to six metres. They are positioned from northeast to southwest to allow for the winds from northeast to pass between the structures and reach the city; this architectural design preserves the supply of fresh air to Graz. The entire campus is based on an axial dimension of 1.15 metres, ranging from individual building elements to the furniture. Module 1 is 210 metres long, 60 metres wide, and a little over 30 metres high. The aluminium sheet panels in seven shades of grey create an abstract picture on the façade reminiscent of the cloudy sky that visually breaks up the building size. The main entrance is located at street level in the east: the campus opens up through a spacious foyer right in front of the auditorium, which stands out from the light green floor in bottle green. Designed for multiple purposes, the auditorium is as flexible as possible. The five lecture halls are situated all around the auditorium. The laboratory and office levels start at the second floor. They are organised as parallel structures from southeast to northwest, exposed to light from two sides. As the requirements to laboratories change all the time, their open, modular structure as well as their accessible plumbing and cabling make it possible to easily adapt the labs. An instrument area with emergency safety showers defines the transition between the hallways with bright daylight and the row of laboratories going all the way to the opposite windows. Bridges connect the wider laboratory blocks and the narrower office structures. The interior is honeycombed with a network of hallways, kitchens and communication areas. BIG ART fills the campus with meaning. In the opening of the façade of Module 1, Manfred Erjautz has figures cast in aluminium stand or lie upside down: a foetus, an infant, a child, a young person, a pregnant woman, a man, a frail man and a skeleton feature the human body and the changes in its constitution over the course of a lifetime. Esther Stocker designed a crumpled objects of four metres in height. The underlying structure is covered in hardened truck tarp with a square pattern in black and white printed on its surface. With this scrunched up shape, she creates an image of a ball of paper, referring to the many discarded ideas in research. The lab hallway was designed by Misha Stroj as a type of shelf or case. Seven times three cases full of pictures, replica, documents, objects. Matt Mullican created the walls in the auditorium foyer and covered them with yellow-primed canvas depicting archaic-looking, organoid illustrations, symbols and pictograms. Shimmering in gold, it looks like a shamanic scroll. The history of MED CAMPUS Graz began in 2003, when twelve formerly preclinical institutes of the Medical University of Graz were merged with the University Hospital Graz. Construction began in 2010, and the first campus element in operation was the Center for Knowledge and Technology Transfer in Medicine in 2014. It is used by external startups and, together with its café, serves as a point of contact to the city. Module 1 is right behind it and opened its doors to university life in 2017. Module 2 East and Module 2 West will be completed soon, just as the institute of anatomy, a historic building offering a counterpoint in the campus ensemble. Franz & Sue adapted the listed anatomy chair from 1912 and added a new building, connected to the old one underground and creating an inner courtyard. The MED CAMPUS Graz will be ceremoniously opened in May 2023. Designed as a piazza, the flat roof between Module 1 and Module 2 will probably become the next favourite place amongst students.
Founded as the “k. k. Hochschule für Bodencultur” (Imperial-Royal University of Natural Resources) in 1872, the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU) moved to the so-called “Türkenschanze” in 1896, a rather posh neighbourhood just above the city. Chief engineer Alois Koch planned the Gregor Mendel Haus in late historical splendour, and architect Helmut Neumayer was in charge of the general renovation and loft conversion until 2016. While the main entrance is located at Linnéplatz, an agricultural area with glasshouses and planting beds for students extends in the back, with the Türkenschanzpark south of BOKU. The University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences has always been dedicated to researching nature; today it is among the top life science universities in Europe. This attracts many students and requires space. Opposite of the Gregor Mendel Haus was the legendary “Türkenwirt“, in short “Tüwi” — a beloved eatery and institution among all BOKU students. The old building could not be rescued and was replaced by the new Tüwi: a house with three institutes, a lecture hall and a cafeteria. The architects Baumschlager Hutter Partners focused the programme into a building with an atrium and arranged half of the entire volume underground. The lecture hall for 400 people is in good hands there, while the lowered inner courtyard not only provides natural light to the Tüwi eatery and farm shop but also serves as a centre of student life itself. Tüwi blends into its environment and makes use of the constant temperature underground, which increases energy efficiency thanks to concrete core cooling, compactness, triple-paned windows, mineral wool insulation, rooftop solar panels, the use of geothermal energy and more, enabling Tüwi to accomplish the plus-energy standard. The Schwackhöfer Haus by architect Anton Schweighofer was a milestone when it was built in 1974. The red circular staircase in the hall, bare steel beams and the Corten steel façade set new standards in architecture at the time. Due to problems with corrosion and asbestos, the steel elements had a short lifespan, but the structure and ceiling heights were preserved in the colourful-transparent renovation by the architects Schwalm-Theiss & Gressenbauer and Herbert Bohrn. The adjacent Ilse Wallentin Haus by SWAP Architekten and Delta is exemplary for the potential of modern timber construction. The base made of reinforced concrete protects the wood from soil moisture and lifts the ground level to a terrace platform around the building. Eight seminar rooms with natural lighting from skylight strips are located below, facing the cool garden. The four upper levels are made of wood in mullion-transom construction; the support structure was completed within six weeks. A modular grid of 3.2 metres creates a flexible structure with a beautiful, coffered ceiling. The structural grid inside also continues outside in the façade’s vertical, wooden pilasters. The all-glass elements between the supports offer wide parapets serving as benches. The entire floor plan is open except for the stairways and sanitary core. It currently accommodates light and inviting seminar rooms, the library as well as open study areas with amoebaformed tables. The 1,000 cubic metres of wood used in the building capture 1,000 tons of CO2. It is no wonder that the Ilse Wallentin Haus was awarded the gold certificate of the Austrian klimaaktiv building standard.
Composition, conducting, stage design, church and computer music: the University of Music and Performing Arts Graz (KUG) teaches everything related to performance. Experts and insiders know that KUG is the first choice for studying jazz in Austria. KUG currently boasts 2,000 students from about 70 countries. The University moved to Palais Meran, a jewel in late classical style, in 1963. It was the residence of the Habsburg Archduke John, built between 1841 and 1843. An urban square leads to the main entrance in the east. The new MUMUTH and the Theater im Palais (originally used as stables, today the Institute of Drama) enrich the city of Graz, which has been enjoying a certain reputation as fertile soil for contemporary architecture ever since its metamorphosis to become a European Capital of Culture in 2003. The House of Music and Music Theatre (MUMUTH) peeks out full of promise between the trees facing the square. It is 22 metres wide, 71 metres long, and 17 metres high: this landmark of Graz is fitted with finely woven, translucent steel mesh providing a soft shell. As an example of avant-garde architecture created by the UNStudio think tank of Ben van Berkel, MUMUTH was based on the winning project from an international competition. It is guided by the dynamic figure of the twist and reaches for the stars. During the day, it shimmers sometimes more, sometimes less according to the weather. At night, however, LEDs transform MUMUTH into a colourful crystal of lights. The twist motif continues inside in the curved staircase, connecting the first and second floor. The largest venue at MUMUTH, named after the composer György Ligeti, is a first-class stage chameleon. Its wooden floor is made up of 108 independently controllable platforms that allow for any performance situation from the classic theatre stage in front to a space stage. The aubergine-coloured, CNC-milled wall panelling offers outstanding and variable acoustics. In addition, MUMUTH is also home to an orchestra rehearsal space, a rehearsal stage, workshops, offices and general theatre infrastructure. The building of the Theater im Palais, which is separated from the palace itself by the courtyard, was built in 1845 and originally used as stables. The Graz-based architects balloon carefully renovated the stables and added a new foyer along the entire length of the building — neatly separated by a glass joint — of 300 square metres. The open space also accommodates offices, wings and a barrier-free bathroom. Its glass front faces the courtyard and thus creates a visual connection to Palais Meran and the city. Like a contemporary temple frieze, a perforated, semi-transparent curtain made from 3-millimetre, gold-coloured aluminium sheet accentuates the glass façade. Ceremoniously capping of the building, the curtain shapes the entire courtyard and provides a charming counterpart to Palais Meran as well as an elegant transition to MUMUTH. Its structure is derived from the abstracted movement of a somersault — also reflected in the suspended ceiling inside. An arts university turns into a stage for the city.
The University of Graz with about 31,000 students is the largest of its kind in Styria. It is located in the heart of the city just a stone’s throw from the Graz City Park. The main building was opened in 1895; the library was added later. On its other side, the RESOWI Centre from 1996 glides along the edge of the campus like an oversized ocean liner. Günther Domenig and Hermann Eisenköck developed the structure of 300 metres in length with 33 institutes as a floating beam above the mostly open ground level with separate buildings rather close to the library. The Graz-based Atelier Thomas Pucher removed the annex of the 1970s to create a charming, urban plaza at the northwestern front of the library. A glass atrium connects the library to the main building of the university. The required expansion was focused into a structure of 7 metres in height and placed on top of the library — neatly separated by a black glass joint. The new roof reaches out a spectacular 19 metres across the square that sits 15 metres below. It is certainly worth to look up to the ceiling: The artist Anna Artaker scaled the illustration PERSPECTIVA PRACTICA by the scholar Jean Du Breuil from 1642 to architectural dimensions and transferred it to the 500 square metre underside of the new projecting structure using original sgraffito technique. Her work adds another multi-layered dimension to the new space. A sophisticated landscape of stairs with ramps and seating steps ennobles the square to become a sort of agora. The broad, open study zone extends around the central area between the historic lantern and the new glass roof. A red anti-noise carpet ensures good acoustics and comfort on the seating steps. The supporting framework also forms the steel glass façade. At the other side of the building, a terrace of 250 square metres serves as the more intimate, bibliophile counterpart to the forecourt. Unicorn — Centre for Knowledge and Innovation Transfer — at the southern edge of the campus is a hub for university research and innovative entrepreneurship. Its character as an interface between science and business is reflected in the combination of old and new. The project group leb idris architektur + architect iris reiter confronted a gutted, historical Gründerzeit villa with an open café with a new slightly tapered, five-storey building. Its unconventional geometry, the distinct perforated metal plate façade, the large windows and co-working spaces for startups symbolise its openness to innovation. A bridge structure connects the two buildings to form the new Unicorn. Its ambitious name derives from the world of startups, in which startup companies with a market value of over USD 1 billion are called unicorns. In Graz it is certainly worth to keep an eye upwards.
The headquarters of the global steel and technology group voestalpine AG — a leading company in Austria’s industry — are located in Linz. Bad air characterised the provincial capital of Upper Austria for many decades. While today’s voestalpine observes all environmental standards, also the city of workers and steel transformed from an ugly duckling to a beautiful swan. Linz boasts a vibrant culture scene and excellent educational institutions. The Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU) was founded as the University of Social and Economic Sciences in 1966. Following the example of U.S. American and British universities, it was conceptualised as a campus right from the start. In the meantime, JKU has grown to include four faculties (Social Sciences, Economics & Business, Law, Engineering & Natural Sciences, Medicine) and four schools with 23,000 students from 100 countries. Its 365.000 square metres make JKU Campus the largest in Austria. It is located in the gardens of Schloss Auhof; Café Teichwerk by Luger & Maul is anchoring like a raft on the east side of the campus pond. JKU has always been a pioneer in many regards; it started off with Computer Sciences in 1970, and was the first university in the world to offer an academic degree programme in Mechatronics in 1990. The campus grew in line with scientific progress. Riepl Riepl Architekten positioned four landmark buildings in key positions. At the border to the residential area south of JKU, Kepler Hall creates a new public space. 90 metres long, 22 metres wide, and 9 metres high, the building with windows all around is the gateway to JKU Campus. The elegant row of black pillars between the windows supports a roof of black wood panels. Measuring 100 metres long and 38 metres wide, its extensive jetties create a spacious, covered outdoor area used for a weekly market and various events. Kepler Hall accommodates a lowered, black gym and multi-purpose hall with stands for all kinds of events. Children from the neighbourhood come here to exercise, students as well, of course; even the Brucker Orchester Linz gave concerts here. The colourful, ceiling-high, semi-transparent curtains by the artist Gilbert Bretterbauer dim the hall and change its appearance to a paper lantern. In front of the entrance, the roof creates a covered courtyard of 20 metres that merges into a park with pines, gravel and revolving chairs designed by landscape architect Anna Detzlhofer. Each and everyone coming to the park can decide which perspective to assume here. At almost 50 metres in height, the tower of the Faculty of Engineering and Natural Sciences is the tallest building on campus. Riepl Riepl Architekten renovated the brutalist concrete laboratory tower from the 1970s in rudimentary minimalist style and placed the fascinating steel structure of the Somnium on the roof. This rooftop viewing platform and a seminar room seem particularly close to the sky and owe their name to Johannes Kepler’s fictional novel of the same name from 1609, in which Kepler imagines life on the moon. The Somnium is a popular place for intuition, inspiration, dreaming, and of course, coffee breaks. The new Linz Institute of Technology is situated at the western edge of JKU Campus: a compact box of dark red, prefabricated wooden components — 100 metres long, 40 metres wide, 11 metres high — with rich inner life. Skylights expose cutting-edge assembly lines; there are laboratories and attractive co-working spaces with galleries, lots of daylight and seated stands that even serve as informal lecture halls. There is even a supermarket at ground level. Riepl Riepl extended the original library next to the lecture halls and added another level full of poetry and terse ingenuity. They placed a single-storey, almost square-shaped element with an atrium on top of the original building. With glass walls on both sides, the new library winds around the central atrium in such a way that about one third of the atrium extends beyond the edge of the roof below. Delicate columns of reinforced concrete support the library’s projecting wings that define the atrium and create a covered forecourt. An open sweeping staircase that changes direction halfway leads to the new addition. A beautiful image of a flexible mind. Johannes Kepler recognised that planets move around the Sun in elliptical orbits. The artist Eva Schlegel attached an elliptical mirror on the underside of the staircase, and a seating area on top of an elliptically shaped band attached to the floor. Thanks to the ellipses having the same focal point, the reflected space opens up new perspectives on the world and the universe. Developed back in 2003, the master plan for the new Science Park combined research and development in mechatronics, computer science and other fields of science and technology. Caramel architekten won the architecture competition. It took 14 years to complete the five buildings. With a metallic façade and horizontal, slightly staggered rows of windows reminiscent of barcodes, these long, reclining structures are giants among buildings. Spacious hallways, covered forecourts, atriums, benches in public space, and enormous open areas in sun yellow with bridges divide the sheer volume into appealing sequences of rooms. The next addition to the JKU Campus will be the “House of Schools”, designed by querkraft architekten and currently under construction. The campus of the Johannes Kepler University Linz also captivates non-student visitors — whether they come for the art, the cafés or to feed the ducks.
Vienna is the world capital of music, and the mdw – University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna one of the most prestigious of its kind. Aside from around 1,300 events every year, some 3,000 students from more than 70 countries are trained in music, theatre and film here. The mdw Campus at Anton-von-Webern-Platz lies hidden on the grounds of the former imperial animal hospital in Vienna’s third district. A wide junction — renamed Anton-von-Webern-Platz — leads to the main entrance. Remodelled and extended by the architect Reinhardt Gallister, its plain, white wings in late classical style surround a beautiful inner courtyard. What followed was a film studio in 2004, later also concert halls, the cafeteria and the University Library in 2016 — everything conceptualised by Gallister. They are located at the northern front, with the Future Art Lab by Pichler & Traupmann Architekten as a counterpart on the southern end. Between these poles extends a park 100 metres long and 50 metres wide, where students sit in the grass and listen to the vibrant ambient noise of piano music, singing and talking. The architecture of the Future Art Lab is dynamic and needs to be experienced at first hand. The path through the park is the overture, meandering the overall spatial concept. The campus is reflected in large glass windows. On the first floor, the east wing spirals up around the rooftop terrace to the two-storey suite of rooms in the west. Its flat roof reaches around the corner to become the projecting roof above the entrance. The foyer also serves as a hub: while the entrance to the black Arthouse Cinema is on the right, an exposed concrete wall dives down to the Sound Theatre in the basement. It is a two-storeyed, sort of experimental stage and specialised electroacoustic sound space. The walkway through the Future Art Lab is defined by a cascading stairway, crossing open space to touch a gallery, just to change direction and move up to the second floor, the new home of the Concert Hall: a room within a room with an inner shell made of solid wood for up to three pianos. The same floor also accommodates rehearsal rooms with beautiful park views. The library of the Film Academy and a generous rooftop terrace on the first floor look upon the inner courtyard with its grand trees as well. Centrally located on the basement level is the recording studio with three cutting-edge control rooms next door. Future Art Lab changes its character and shimmers in gold at the side, where a ramp leads to the underground seminar rooms of the Film Academy. As a professional stage for music and film, the Future Art Lab is also a public venue. The mdw Campus provides a stylish environment to an institution that fills Vienna with pride. With various concerts and events taking place on campus, it has become an integral element of the city’s rich cultural scene.
Vienna’s world of medicine is concentrated in the ninth district. The Spitalgasse (Hospital Street) connects past, present and future. Located to the east, the Old General Hospital (Altes AKH) was founded as a military hospital in 1686 and extended several times in the 18th century. Today it presents an intriguing network of courtyards after its conversion and the addition of new buildings to become the campus of the University of Vienna in the 1990s. West of Spitalgasse, several historical pavilions are used by the Medical University of Vienna, with the Vienna General Hospital (AKH) right behind them: an enormous, technoid building ensemble with monumental ward blocks that can be seen from anywhere in the city. AKH is also functions as a clinical centre and stands for the very best in medicine. Many university departments and institutes are found on the grounds of AKH Wien. The preclinical stage at the beginning of studying medicine is currently distributed across several sites but will be focused at MedUni Campus Mariannengasse in a few years. The plot is a Gründerzeit building in the midst of Vienna’s dense urban environment between Spitalgasse in the east and Mariannengasse in the south. The perimeter blocks are highly heterogeneous. A major part of the west and east wings are located in area with listed buildings, so the urban structure cannot be altered. The outermost northeastern and northwestern corners are not part of the construction site. The plot with 8,600 square metres was intended to generate 60,000 square metres of gross floor area. Delugan Meissl Associated Architects (DMAA) and Architektur Consult (AC) mastered this balancing act with flying colours. Their campus ingeniously structures the cubature to create an accessible and light framework at street level. DMAA replaced any structures that could not be adapted by a base zone with generous, green inner courtyards as a connection between Spitalgasse and AKH Wien. This fluid space shines in inviting design with varying ceiling heights, ramps, galleries, seating pedestals and atriums for natural light. It serves as a fluctuation and communication area and crucial junction to lecture halls, laboratories, and the extensive lower levels. The three-storey base zone also integrates the listed buildings that were preserved as historical blocks up to the central hallway. The listed house turns into an atmospheric canteen, while the laboratories are packed into a functional, nine-storey building from north to south. Facing Spitalgasse, the campus presents a contemporary façade of steel and glass. It creates an attractive study environment with ideal research conditions without bursting the scale of the city. Thomas Feuerstein designed the panorama mural “Metabolic Landscape” of 30 metres in length in the campus canteen. It combines a real topographic map with a diagram of the metabolic pathways in the human body. Reminiscent of the speech bubbles found in WhatsApp messages or comics, it displays computer-generated, scientific text fragments. The artist Toni Schmale put up fragments of the human body cast in concrete in a large frame in the auditorium, arranged in a way that creates a visual analogy between the historical sculptures and the representation of basic first aid measures. MedUni Campus Mariannengasse combines historic buildings and modern architecture to create an exceptional ensemble in the midst of a densely populated urban area, which provides the perfect conditions for future medical professionals both in terms of infrastructure and atmosphere.