Text description provided by the architects. In less than two weeks, Austrian practice soma will be celebrating the grand opening of their new extension to the Building Academy in Salzburg. The extension will serve as a new foyer that acts as the school lobby and as a public space for various cultural events. Using a strategy of a “viscous” affiliation, the new atmosphere is generated through a simulation of viscosity that blends with the existing building geometry yet develops its own presence.
The new roof structure creates a consistent and smooth transition between the exterior and the interior of the building. It connects the different functional areas in one fluid space and creates an open and evocative atmosphere. Structural performance, lighting and functional zoning, as well as the creation of an intuitively understandable guidance system correlate in one continuous structure. The widening of the roof geometry from a framed into a freely spreading geometry can be read as a contingent affiliation of the existing spatial characteristics.
The three-dimensional pattern was generated in a simulation of fluids based on particle flows. Liquids have three essential parameters: viscosity, density and surface tension. The interactions between these three physical properties have been tested on the computer in a series of variations to generate a pattern with a big amount of holes and a high level of coherence.
Realizing this complex structure in exposed concrete posed major challenges in the area of formwork construction, which was tested and optimized in 1:1 mock ups. The finely triangulated surface of the concrete structure allows a subtle play of light and shadow and was achieved by testing different milling techniques. The advanced geometry of the roof and its innovative construction process reflect the competencies and teaching focus of the Building Academy in the field of concrete application.