Business Schools continue to invest in new facilities and are often patrons of architecture as they seek to differentiate themselves in a highly competitive academic marketplace. The Kellogg School of Management, for example, is investing $220m in its Illinois campus in the US, according to the Financial Times.
One of the most ambitious recent projects is the new University of Economics and Business (Wirtschaftsuniversitst Wien) in Vienna’s Second District, which opened last year and was described as “one of the largest university building sites in the world” at the time. Designed for an over 24,000 students and 1800 staff, with an emphasis on natural light and sustainability. it comprises seven buildings planned around the new University and Learning Centre designed by Zaha Hadid. As is common in Austria, the architects for the different buildings were selected through international design competitions and also include Crab Studio who designed the Administration and Law Building, BUS architektur who were responsible for the Teaching Centre and Auditorium Buildings and Estudio Carme Pinos who designed the Departmental Building.
The new university library building provides 28,000sq m of space including library and learning facilities, academic services and social areas, designed as two “ribbons” of rooms around a central “canyon” of open space.
Externally, the non-public areas of the building including classrooms, an auditorium, workspaces and office are housed at the lower area 0f flowing white horizontal lines while a large black box cantilevered over a new public square at the main entrance contains the main library, function rooms and a café, reached through the dramatic central space.
The public circulation areas of the Library look stunning, but generous and a little sterile for a community of scholars in a university. Perhaps as the universitybecomes used to using the building it will add some colour and individuality to enliven it.
Photographs by Günther Bogensberger