Design Studio WS 16/17

Public Science Space: FREIRAUM für das Wiener Arsenal


10 years ago, the decision was made for the inner-city site consolidation of the Vienna University of Technology. In the course of this decision, the Vienna Arsenal was defined as a development area for the implementation of “special” research and teaching. In particular, a concentration of laboratory space was considered. In addition, sufficient drawing room capacity has now been created for architecture students. The Vienna Arsenal is a former military building complex, adjacent to the Sonnwendviertel near the new main train station. It is a publicly accessible urban area, with various individual buildings currently being adapted for use by the Vienna University of Technology. In the context of the ggst. In the context of the design program in question, the question is to be addressed as to how, in the course of these efforts, the outdoor space between the individual objects can be enlivened and used. The focus of the Public Science Space is therefore on identity-creating measures that underline the attractiveness of the overall complex and invite use by the future 5,000 teachers and students as well as the neighboring community. The space between the individual buildings should not lie fallow as an unused residual area, but rather be transformed into a lively park space that can be used and experienced by all. Concepts are to be worked out, which under certain circumstances deal with greening, seating and recreation areas, guidance systems, entrance portals, signs, etc. Likewise, the entrance area of generally used premises (cafeteria, etc.) could be subject to closer examination.


If one takes a closer look at the present designs around the Vienna Arsenal, especially the part with which the Vienna University of Technology will have to identify itself more strongly in the near future, it becomes obvious how inaccessible the site appears. Large-format buildings each house their own research and “study worlds”, the space in between seems leftover and primarily created to be overcome in order to be able to switch from one “world” to the other. In this respect, it is hardly surprising that the focus of the designs presented here is on the search for something mediating, a world whose scale is broken down to such an extent that it becomes tangible and experienceable. No matter whether it is a matter of small-scale interventions, of “parasitic”-seeming fixtures, “green” terraces, paradise-like islands of open space, or rest and play areas anchored along a network of paths. Only the intended function varies. However, the endeavor to anchor and position oneself in the supposed residual space is a consistent credo. In addition, it is necessary to give the site a necessary degree of identification, since the existing buildings within this area are hardly capable of doing so. Such identification-creating measures contribute to being able to locate oneself as a visitor, as a student, but also as a teacher, and to being able to understand the existing space as a “home”. The present designs thus shed light without a doubt on the needs that are placed on a place like the Arsenale. Only the future will show how these needs will ultimately be met and spatially realized.