Monochrome interlocking volumes define Zaha Hadid's latest education project
Welcoming its first students for the winter 2013/14 semester, the façade of Zaha Hadid’s Learning and Library Center (LLC) for the Vienna University for Economics and Business Administration is now complete. The LLC is part of a wider masterplan drawn up by local architecture studio BUSarchitektur in light of the existing facilities for the university becoming outdated and too small for the institution’s demands.
The masterplan includes five buildings which encircle Hadid’s LLC, instantly recognisable by its two interlocking volumes. Sporting fibreC façade panels by the Rieder Group, the two hefty forms are deliberately toned in contrasting hues to differentiate between the public areas (clad in black) and the non-public areas (clad in white).
The complete form showcases Hadid’s trademark strong lines and sculptural aesthetic, with the sharp lines of the external volume contrasting directly with smooth flowing curves within.
WAN’s Facebook users have already applauded the design with some comparing Hadid’s latest work to her highly celebrated MAXXI Museum in Rome. Hadid was awarded the RIBA Stirling Prize for the design of the MAXXI in 2010.
The LLC in Vienna will offer more than 100,000 sq m of usable space for the 24,000 students and 1,800 staff members of the University for Economics and Business Administration. The core library facilities are located more than 28m off the ground in the South Library, more than 16m above the overhanging entrance façade which is inclined at a 35° angle.
Users will enter into a stark white atrium off which they can access both elements of the interlocking building structure. The public spaces include a state-of-the-art library, café and function rooms while the areas clad in white panels contain the administrative centres of the university.
To achieve the desired monochromatic design with a sandblasted surface and homogenous look, Hadid selected fibreC façade panels by the Rieder Group. These 13mm thin panels can be shaped into two or three dimensions making them a prime choice for a sculptural building such as this.
The building design was developed and implemented by Hadid’s team in Hamburg, headed by Cornelius Schlotthauer, who explains: “Glassfibre-reinforced concrete panels were a good choice due to their concrete look. We like building with concrete. In addition we expect high-quality, high-value materials. In addition, glassfibre-reinforced concrete panels offer many design opportunities.”