Law Department Vienna School of Economics, Austria

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Law Department Vienna School of Economics, Austria
DEPARTMENTS OF LAW AND CENTRAL ADMINISTRATION WISSENSCHAFTSUNIVERSITAT WIEN Following a series of five concurrent competitions, Vienna’s University of Economics and Business (ranked no 4 in Europe) will create a completely new campus on the side of the Prater Park – close to the heroic Prater Wheel. Cook-Robotham (CRAB) won the competition for the pair of buildings on the southwest flank of the campus that house the Law faculties and the central administration. The master plan – by Laura Spinadel’s BUS Architektur – establishes a series of central terraces, from which CRAB’s buildings proceed to wrap around their own set of terraces, passages and enclaves. The philosophy behind the planning and the configuration of the main study building emerges from the authors’ considerable experience of university life and belief in the value of extra-seminal exchange. In other words - an acknowledgement of the value of spaces, pockets, incidental locations or coincident conditions in which academics, researchers, students or visitors will start to unwind, chat or speculate together. The pursuit of the departmental and sub-departments within acted as an inspiration for the deliberate ‘curling’ or ‘wrapping’ of the plan. Thus creating a series of ‘pockets’ for informal gatherings which are orchestrated together with necessary runs of offices and research rooms. As the building has developed along through the various activity zones, this attitude towards the interplay of the formal and the informal – the defined and the peripheral has been applied to both internal spaces and the outside balconies, decks and courts. The focus of the building is the Law Library which is covered by a terraced courtyard. Special study galleries sitting within the library will rise up as ‘lookouts’ towards the terraces and thus continue the tradition of the ‘scholar’s perch’. The wrapping of the building is seen as a lyrical envelope that can weave and change direction effortlessly : like a series of streaae. As these climb upwards they will change colour from dark red at the ground level, through orange and cream to white at the highest level. A filter layer of slats – cut from Siberian Larch (a timber that bleaches over time and has a tremendous durability) will enable shading from the sun and architecturally establish a link to the timber screening of the Prater woods.


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