A spectacular new campus reflects the venerable Viennese university’s commitment to the future says Eva Male.
What should the university of the future look like? What tasks is a modern business and economics university expected to fulfil? And what functions does an urban campus need to perform today?
These were the questions WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business) had to tackle when it became clear that it would move to a new campus built from scratch rather than renovate its buildings at the old location.
The project to build a new WU campus was launched in 2007, the ground breaking ceremony took place in 2009 and the new campus was inaugurated in early October 2013 – in the same week that WU celebrated its 115th anniversary. The new campus was completed on schedule and within budget.
Now the first academic year at the new location is nearly complete and the new Campus WU has stood up to the test well.
The visions and ideas that guided the planning and design phases have come to full fruition. The new campus not only offers vastly improved teaching and learning spaces and facilities for students and faculty, it has also become a popular meeting place for non-academic visitors, attracting large numbers of tourists and local residents. There are children playing, people having fun on the campus basketball court or simply enjoying the sun – everyone is very welcome on Campus WU.
After all, WU’s new campus was always meant to be more than just a place for academic research and teaching and learning practical skills; it was also designed to create a new space for social, cultural and political life. It is the concrete realisation of WU’s vision of a modern university.
The fundamental principles of the architecture reflect the values and ideas such as diversity, innovation and internationalism we cherish at WU.
And as a public institution WU has lived up to its responsibility to build its new campus in an economical, ecological and socially sustainable manner. We have not only constructed new buildings but in the process have built on our ideas of what the university of the future should look like.
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