New-build campus at the private Sigmund Freud University
Design competition by invitation

 With its peaceful structure and quadratic layout and courtyard, the university building manifests the inner value of the academic community of teachers and learners at Sigmund Freud University. The building takes a step back from the road, liberating the main façade. This gesture also allows the adjoining building to enter the dialogue, achieving a balanced ensemble. The sense of noble serenity created by the active formal language provides a lift for the surroundingarea. The university is a place of mental concentration – a house with clear structures and sensual grace. The courtyard refers to the origin of all European universities: the monasteries in which teaching and contemplation coexisted in harmony. The choice of wood for the primary structure creates a sense of cosiness on many levels. The building is a hybrid construction of timber-concrete composite slabs and wooden supports, laid out in a continuous modular grid. This arrangement allows for maximum flexibility in terms of how the internal spaces are divided. The façade of white fabric tapes enwraps the building like a textile veil. As required to allow unencumbered views, the tapes are twisted around their own axis. Wide-mesh transparency alternates with tighter densities. Draped folds ending in bordures create the impression of a shimmering, glamorous lace dress. This ephemeral appearance awakens longings, resonates with the splendour of the Great Exhibition of 1873 and, in spite of its elegance, is in sympathy with the historic Vienna Prater amusement park. Ambivalent: on the one hand belonging to its location, on the other hand sensually enraptured – like dreams.

Messestrasse campus · Vienna, Austria · 2012

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Messestrasse campus