Architect in ChargeSir Peter Cook, Gavin Robotham
Design TeamProf. Sir Peter Cook, Gavin Robotham, Mark Bagguley, Stefan Lengen, Theresa Heinen
Text description provided by the architects. Just completed is a 200 meter long pair of buildings snaking west to east in a series of brightly coloured streaks that cheer up the often grey skies of Vienna’s Prater district. They fold out to form a series of roof decks, they zig in and out to create ‘sunshine corners’ and are occasionally eaten out to create balconies for smokers or others who are needing a break. There are routes under that run from the University courtyard to the Prater Park on the south - diving through the red base.
The building is designed around Cook and Robotham’s strongly held belief (based on many years as University teachers) that a lively and successful college building should have generous and engaging internal spaces that are not just seminar rooms or offices, but places to ‘hang out’ and possibly encourage you to stay around after class: so these are carved out of the interior and slither around in a similar way to the building as a whole.
Draped over the exterior is a layer of natural timber louvres that partially deal with sun shading and respond to the woodlands that surround the campus – also acting as staccato foil to the striation of the buildings as a whole. Some observers have referred to these as a type of ‘designer stubble’ that male Academics and upwardly mobile young lawyers enjoy.
The total profile is deliberately inspired by landscape formation (that over time will be infested with vegetation) and by the desire to encourage animation on the decks and all available surfaces.
CRAB STUDIO has also incorporated ‘capsules of quiet’ in the library, ‘sound clouds’ in the seminar rooms with their own undulating mannerisms for chairs and key items of furniture.
*The new campus of the WU was masterplanned by BUSarchitektur ZT Gmbh and includes buildings by Zaha Hadid Architecture, studio of Hitoshe Abe, Estudio Carme Pinos S.L, NO.MAD Architects and BUSarchitektur ZT Gmbh.