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One Man’s Meat is another Man’s Poison Library & Learning Center by Zaha Hadid


When concepts at other places threaten to fail due to the consequences of the international financial crisis, just that is a lucky strike for the new campus of the University of Economics Vienna, the project of which, the central Library & Learning Center by Zaha Hadid, designed as a light-tower, is currently under construction. Since the plans for building upon the 88,000 sqm large area were already there when the wave of economic stimulus packages provided an unexpected boost.

As desired, the design of the Library & Learning Center embodies a brand for the new campus of the University of Economics Vienna. Individuality, expressiveness, presence and identity are not only the formulae of the future economic elite, but also the requirements buildings will have to meet. The shaping idea for the LLC is the integration of the “walk-along-park“ from the master plan with its place sequences and traffic streams into the building. And apart from that, through the folding formed inside the structure, through which two entwined building parts arise into a third dimension. The gap evolving from this – sometimes broad and generous in the open lobby, or strict and narrow in the canyon-like opening hallways – becomes directly visible and can thus be directly experienced by the user.  The opening winds upwards in spirals and leads into a self-study room at the top level – with a gorgeous view across the treetops. Will that keep students away from their books? Public and semi-public functions wind up along the various height levels.

According to the master plan the campus creates urban spaces within a green environment, at the transition between the voluminous buildings of the Vienna trade fair premises and the superordinate free area of the Prater nature preserve. A chance you get only once in a century, to have the possibility to build a university, also in terms of ideas. And a boost for the economy – in multiple respects. Living and learning at the campus – gladly so, day and night at the LLC…

260,000 cubic meters of soil have already been moved aside, and also seven meters below ground level construction works are in full swing. Whoever wishes to follow the construction progress may do so through one of the four webcams that have been put online at www.campuswu.at. It’s worth it.  

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