The Vienna University of Economics and Business university (or Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien) has just welcomed a new addition to its star-studded campus, which already features buildings by Zaha Hadid, Hitoshi Abe and Carme Pinos, and a masterplan by BUS Architektur. The latest pair of buildings were designed by London's CRAB Studio, headed by renowned Archigram founder Sir Peter Cook and established architect Gavin Robotham.
Located in its southwest part, the buildings house the university's Law Faculty and central administration. The structures span 200 meters, snaking west to east, and are set to bring a welcome dash of colour to the Austrian capital's grey winter skies. The colourful facades curve, jut out and fold into roof decks, courtyards, sitting areas and balconies. A layer of natural Siberian Larch timber louvers covers part of the façade and has a dual role; it provides shade but also links the new structures to the surrounding Prater woodland.
Cook and Robotham - both seasoned academics - led this dynamic design. Responding to the needs of the students, the pair have created university buildings that include generous and engaging spaces that are able to support vibrant university life, even outside seminar hours. Special 'capsules of quiet' in the library and 'sound clouds' in the seminar rooms offer pockets for independent meetings and study. Meanwhile, the buildings' overall undulating, playful form matches the firm's vision for a dynamic and attractive environment for learning.
The Vienna University project is not the firm's only new offering in the education sector; next up is the Architecture Faculty building at Bond University in Queensland, Australia, which is swiftly gearing up towards completion this February.