The existing AAU building was completed in 1975 by the architect group of Baurecht ‒ Esterl ‒ Hildebrand ‒ Kaplaner and is a rationalistic reinforced concrete skeleton construction with a precast reinforced concrete façade. After around 40 years of intensive use, some of the central building parts no longer meet today's technical and functional requirements for a university building and had to be reorganized, adapted and upgraded in terms of room qualities. ARGE balloon and Maurer won the competition for the broad renovation of the central and northern tracts in 2015.
EXTRACT FROM THE JURY PROTOCOL:
“This project impresses with the open design of the thoroughfare, most notably the foyer as well as its relation to the forecourt, the adjacent office areas and the Oman Hall. Especially successful is the distinct upgrade of the central area in front of the lecture halls due to the emphasis on daylight and the opening towards the southern outdoor area with a view of the southern tract. It creates an open multi-purpose area. The transparency towards the lecture halls invokes permeability for the entire central area and represents a significant improvement of the spatial quality."
The inviting design of a cantilevered canopy clearly highlights the main entrance. The university foyer was gutted entirely and transformed into an open and contemporary reception area. The doorman lodge and telephone switchboard are positioned next to the vestibule, an open seating island area offers temporary work places.
The Oman hall, showcasing a series of paintings by the artist Valentin Oman from 1995, was opened into the foyer, but can still be completely closed off using mobile partition walls if necessary. The Oman paintings are hung on the western wall of the hall and are thus already visible from the foyer.
The offices of the Students' Association are housed in the former administrative offices and the former doorman lodge. Thus, apart from the Student Services, the computer terminals and the reception area, all organizational service points are centralized in the foyer of the university.
A major objective of the design was to extend the previously inadequate common space in the central part of the building. Offices that were formerly located in the vicinity of the auditorium were moved in favor of communication spaces in the eastern and western part of the building. This resulted in an open, central auditorium at the heart of the building with generous learning, working, break and communication areas. Lighting is greatly improved due to the relocation of the southern offices. In addition, the existing window parapets in this area are replaced by floor-to-ceiling glazing.
THE LECTURE HALLS
The walls of the lecture halls were removed in the corridor areas down to the load-bearing column structure and replaced with soundproof glass for more transparency. The northern outer walls of the lecture halls are broken up with openings to bring daylight into them. Semi-transparent curtains and a dimming system enable precise control of the daylight situation.
WESTERN AND NORTHERN TRACTS
The previously dark and oppressive circulation zones were transformed into a translucent, open spatial structure with a close connection to the outside using large glazing to the office and seminar rooms. Tea kitchens and break rooms complete the space and function allocation plan.
Artwork: Bernhard Wolf, Monique Fessl