Viennese Waltz!

In a ground-breaking joint initiative, twenty-four members of HEDQF and AUDE travelled to Vienna in May to visit the recently competed WU (University of Vienna) Campus to the west of the city centre.

Close to the Prater public park, and next to the exhibition centre of Vienna, the campus features six main building complexes resting on approximately ten hectares. The master plan was created by BUSarchitektur under the guidance of the architect Laura Spinadel. The buildings were designed by architectural firms from Spain, the UK, Germany, Japan and Austria. The dominant element of the campus is the Library and Learning Centre, by the late Zaha Hadid. ‘The WU Campus is a special place for research and education with a unique atmosphere. This exceptionality shall be reflected in the countenance of its architecture. The university complex shall be a landmark radiating beyond the city limits. Its architecture shall be conceived as a subject of fascination’ – from the project brief.

The group received an introductory explanation of the masterplan then a two hour tour of the main buildings led by Felicitas Konecny. Obligatory Viennese cakes and coffee were followed by presentations by Mag.iur Chrostphe Kecht, Head of Campus Management and Professor Gerlinde Mautner who was a founder member of the WU campus concept ‘sounding board’ committee. Christophe provided the technical background to the project including procurement, area, costs etc. and Gerlinde outlined the design brief aspirations and a comparison with the final built campus; she illustrated her satisfaction with result by exhibiting the campus’ purpose-made coat hanger as the only example of design failure! Later that evening, the group, including Prof. Mautner, continued the discussion over dinner arranged at a traditional Viennese restaurant.

Given the success of this venture, it is hoped this will be the first of many future joint reference visits with AUDE. HEDQF is particularly grateful to Rod McAllister for arranging such a well organised, informative and enjoyable visit.