University in the Prater

The Campus of the WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business) in the Prater

Architects: Zaha Hadid Architects, BUSarchitektur, Atelier Hitoshi Abe, Peter Cook-CRABstudio, NO_MAD/Eduardo Arroyo, Estudio Carme Pinós, BOA büro
Text: György Szegő
Photos: Hanna Szegő


Urban development in Vienna in the past 20 years has built a network of underground lines all over the brown zones as well. This allowed the new campus in the Prater district meant for 28–30,000 students to function as an integral part of the city even beyond its „work hours”. Preceding the design work, a contest was published with the participation of 24 Austrian and German teams, as well as internationally rated architects. The heart and signature building of this complex is undoubtedly the 35,000m² LC, the Library and Learning Center designed by Zaha Hadid. Streamlined by aluminium and glass strips, this house features a floating form counteracted by the 32,000m²-fortress-like D1 Teaching Center, the other main structure of the „promenade axis”, which was designed by the BUSarchitektur as a static building to contain an auditorium maximum suited to seat 600 people.
Based on contrasts, this inhomogenuous composition shows the character of a grown city made complete with the deliberate versatility of the other minor buildings joining it – the open-air cafés, the garden restaurant of the Mensa, canteens, stages and podiums. Details with forms reflecting extraordinary care coupled with purposefully different materials are able to blend into Gesamtkunstwerk almost unnoticed. The same holds true of the black and white chessboard architecture based on the contrasts of itself – the Department-Bildung2 of the Students Centre designed by Atelier Hitoshi Abe or the office blocks of D3 and D2 Academy designed by Peter Cook and the CRABstudio which winds to surround intimate interiors with its yellow-orange body featuring a pop art character.

Client: Projektgesellschaft Wirtschaftsuniversität Wien Neu
General design: ARGE Campus WU; BUSarchitektur – Vasko+Partner Ingenieure

D1 Teaching Center
Architecture: BUSarchitektur
Structure: kppk Zt. GmbH

D2 Student Center
Architecture: Atelier Hitoshi Abe
Structure: Vasko+Partner Ingenieure

D3 Administration
Architecture: Peter Cook, Gavin Robotham, Mark Bagguely, stefan Lengen, Theresa Heinen – CRABstudio
Facade: Sto

D4 Depatrnents
Architecture: Estudio Carme Pinós
Structure: Vasko+Partner Ingenieure

Executive Academy
Architecture: NO.MAD Arquitectos
Structure: Vasko+Partner Ingenieure

Library & Learning Center
Architecture: Zaha Hadid Architects
Structure: Vasko+Partner Ingenieure