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Henning Larsen wins competition to design prestigious university campus in the heart of Innsbruck
Austria Architecture News - Dec 16, 2021 - 15:27 2417 views
Called Management Center Innsbruck (MCI), the 35,000-square-meter building, located on the edge of the Innsbruck city center, will be Henning Larsen’s first project completed in Austria.
Henning Larsen's proposal was selected after a two-stage competition and dialogue process as the winner of the competition. Henning Larsen won the competition in collaboration with Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl, Transsolar, WH-P Ingenieure, Röhrer Bauphysik, and EUROLABORS.
Envisioned as "a world-class learning environment", in the competition the jury, in their unanimous selection of the project, gave particular attention to the "ideal urban development of the new campus as a lighthouse project between the historic Hofgarten, the University of Social Sciences and the new security center."
Image © Sora
"We are extremely pleased that we were able to win the competition for the new MCI campus with our design. It stands for openness, identity, communication, and design excellence," said Andreas Schulting, Managing Director of Henning Larsen’s Munich office.
"We will bring our expertise in university construction from more than 60 years to this project and develop it further together with MCI," Schulting added.
Founded in 1995, MCI quickly outgrew its central Innsbruck campus, the university’s many faculties today are scattered throughout Innsbruck.
Henning Larsen's new structure, located next to the SoWi University and the Innsbrucker Hofgarten, will craft a unified campus for MCI for the first time in the school’s history.
Bordered by the city to the south and east and by the historical Hofgarten to the north and west (and the Alps all around), the building is designed to have no back or front. Multi-story entries are carved into each façade to break the scale of the building in relation to its surroundings.
These pockets are, in turn, planted with gardens to match the identity of their neighbour such as the mountain-facing north entry is lush with alpine flowers and the southern city facing entry is an urban terrace.
"The design will feature unprogrammed spaces"
Classrooms and lecture halls are placed at the outer edge of the ground level, framing a fluid interior space with a large community stair in the centre that not only links the three levels of “learning” spaces, but also serves as a community space itself.
These learning floors are designed to be open and flexible, with nearly as much ‘unprogrammed’ space for students to study, socialise, and rest as there is actual classroom space.
"We found a wealth of inspiration in the landscapes and geography of Tirol," explained Associate Design Director Lucas Ziegler."
"Especially in the way changing light alters the way you see the mountains throughout the day. The façade is an interpretation of this – the depth, verticality, and angularity of the façade gives the building an appearance that changes throughout the day and the seasons."
"In learning projects today, there’s much less emphasis on the traditional model of dedicated classrooms connected by empty corridors – more fluid spaces reflect a better understanding of how people actually learn and process new information," stated Lucas Ziegler. "Our design not only supports the variety of ways people learn but is also an inviting place for people to meet and stay."
The building’s upper floors are divided in two sections, one containing offices for MCI faculty, administration, and students, the other containing laboratories and research spaces. The design is dense and highly efficient, with four cores that serve not just as vertical circulation, but also as social hubs within the large floorplates.
Henning Larsen has extensive expertise in higher education and learning spaces, notable examples include the Lindner College of Business at the University of Cincinnati, the Frankfurt Business School and French International School in Hong Kong.
Construction is expected to start in the autumn of 2023 and move-in is planned for early 2025.
Top image © Sora
All drawings © Henning Larsen
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