With the winning proposal for the masterplan for the University in Klagenfurt, Austria, Snøhetta touches on the questions of how can inspiring spaces for teaching and learning look like, as well as future sustainable architecture. The competition brief called for a restructuring of the University site in the Carinthian city and for the design of a new institute building.
A “landscape ribbon” strengthens the east-west axis, the link from the city center to the lake Wörthersee, connecting different activities and spatial typologies like plazas, event and recreational spaces, an amphitheater, water features and outdoor learning spaces. Two new timber buildings clearly mark the two sides of the linear organized open spaces, highlighting the main access to the existing buildings, anchoring the university campus in the urban structure and making it visible from the street. The new public spaces and sustainable landscapes as well as the old and the new buildings form an overall ensemble.
The jury recognized the high degree of innovation of Snøhetta's proposal, which not only focuses on successful urban design and innovative architecture but also develops an inspiring and at the same time challenging learning environment. This ultimately invites intensive discourse on the question of what a university should and must achieve today.
A generous learning landscape extends the campus idea into the interior reimagining the role of university environments. A spacious library staircase provides an imposing spatial experience with high recreational and communication potential. Various institutes and offices are located under one roof, as well as open learning areas and co-working spaces that promote exchange and knowledge transfer. The entire third floor is designed as an open office landscape, thus meeting the requirements of a modern university life. The compact but flexible arrangement of different uses under one roof can be adapted to future needs if required.
Conceptually, the building consists of two parts: A building envelope made of a timber structure with a sawtooth roof that extends over the entire volume, and a compact wooden structure inside. The saw-tooth roof provides for daylight flooded indoor spaces as well as for extensive areas for PV panels. Inner courtyards contribute to the natural lighting of the offices. A lamella façade creates transparency and protects against direct sunlight. The arrangement of the vertical lamellas varies depending on the solar radiation.
The jury also highlights the favorable ratio of volume and enveloping surface and the resulting positive effects on the energy balance. In addition, an intelligent ventilation strategy and natural ventilation in parts of the building, can further reduce energy consumption by one third.