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Library and Learning Centre of Vienna University of Economics and Business | Architectural Review


Introduction

The Library and Learning Centre (LLC) at the University of Economics and Business in Vienna is an outstanding example of contemporary architecture. The LLC is a statement in modern design that boasts stunning, cutting-edge curves, asymmetrical angles, and graceful, flowing lines. It serves an essential purpose for the university's community for learning and research.

  • Architect: Zaha Hadid

  • Façade Engineer: Arup Berlin

  • Capacity: 24000 Students and 1800 Staff

  • Gross area: 42,000m2 (net area of 28000m2)

  • Structures dimensions: 30m- five-storey building (136m x 76m)

  • The building includes: Language Laboratory, Data Center, Book Shop, Training rooms, Auditorium and Cafeteria.

  • The building includes: Language Laboratory, Data Center, Book Shop, Training rooms, Auditorium and Cafeteria.

 

The Structural Arrangement


The LLC building stands tall at eight stories, with a sprawling 28,000 square meter floor area. This ambitious shape is realized with reinforced concrete, a material known for its ability to shape complex curves, cantilevered beams and more. Its exterior is designed from a series of connected horizontal slabs and interlocking vertical walls in an artistic pattern meant to recall the ebb and flow of a river.


The slabs and walls are connected to a network of reinforced concrete columns and beams, comprising a structural framework to keep everything in place. The columns are placed strategically to contribute to the building's support and elevation of the cantilevered sections. The beams span the distance between the columns, giving supplementary support to the slabs and walls.


The LLC building’s internal composition consists of a grand central atrium, a three-story-high space with a glazed ceiling, enabling it to be brightened by natural sunlight. The atrium serves as the main area for circulation, allowing people within the building to orient themselves and swiftly and easily navigate between floors and sections.


Plan view of LLC   -  Ref: ArchDaily
View of LLC - Ref: ArchDaily

How Loads are carried through the structure


In general, loads in buildings are carried through a combination of structural elements such as columns, beams, and slabs, as well as foundation systems. The specific load-carrying systems used in a building depend on various factors, such as the building's height, the type of construction, and the materials used.

In a library and learning center, the load-carrying systems are typically designed to accommodate the weight of books, furniture, and people, as well as other equipment and materials that are commonly used in such facilities. The structural elements used to carry these loads may include reinforced concrete or steel columns, beams, and slabs, as well as various types of foundation systems, such as spread footings or piles.


The structural system of the library and learning center is primarily composed of reinforced concrete columns and beams. These elements form a grid-like pattern that distributes loads of the building evenly throughout the structure. The columns are arranged in a staggered pattern, which helps to create a sense of movement and dynamism within the building. The floor plates of the building are also made of reinforced concrete and are supported by columns and beams.


One of the key features of the library and learning center is the large central atrium that runs through the center of the building. This space is open to the sky and provides natural light to the lower floors of the building. The atrium is also a key structural element of the building, as it helps to distribute loads of the building evenly throughout the structure. The atrium is supported by a series of diagonal columns that are arranged in a V-shaped pattern. These columns help to transfer the loads of the building to the foundation.


About the Architect

Zaha Hadid was a world-renowned architect who passed away in 2016. She was known for her innovative and avant-garde designs that often pushed the boundaries of what was thought possible in architecture. Here are a few examples of her most famous works:


  • The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan: This cultural center is one of Hadid's most famous works and is known for its sweeping curves and undulating form.

Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects | Architect Magazine
Heydar Aliyev Cultural Center, Designed by Zaha Hadid Architects | Architect Magazine

  • The MAXXI National Museum of the 21st Century Arts in Rome, Italy: This contemporary art museum features a complex network of intersecting concrete forms that create a dynamic and fluid space.

The Maxxi: Italy's first National Museum of Architecture | ITALY Magazine
The Maxxi: Italy's first National Museum of Architecture | ITALY Magazine

  • The Guangzhou Opera House in Guangzhou, China: This futuristic opera house is a stunning example of Hadid's signature style, with its curving lines and fluid forms.

Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House - ICON Magazine
Zaha Hadid's Guangzhou Opera House - ICON Magazine


  • The London Aquatics Centre in London, UK: Built for the 2012 Olympic Games, this sports center features a distinctive wave-like roof that was designed to resemble a flowing river.

The London Aquatics Centre | Sport and fitness in Olympic Park, London
The London Aquatics Centre | Sport and fitness in Olympic Park, London

  • The Phaeno Science Center in Wolfsburg, Germany: This science museum is a striking example of Hadid's use of bold geometric forms and dramatic angles.

Phæno Science Center, Wolfsburg - World Construction Network
Phæno Science Center, Wolfsburg - World Construction Network

About the Contractors

The Library and Learning Center, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects—the British architecture firm founded by the late Zaha Hadid—was constructed in 2013 by the Austrian construction company Strabag, who is one of Europe's biggest firms in the business. With ATP Architects and Engineers overseeing the project, it has become a landmark in Vienna and won numerous accolades for its innovative and captivating design.


The extraordinary design of the Library and Learning Center stands as a magnificent display of modern architecture, featuring curves, dynamic lines and a transparent glass façade that allows onlookers to view the breathtaking cityscape around it. This infrastructure certainly leaves a lasting impression on the future of Vienna.



Construction Material Used

The University of Economics and Business in Vienna is home to a modern architectural marvel: the LLC. This unique structure was crafted with various construction materials, from precast concrete panels to glazed surfaces and custom windows; from steel structural elements to aluminum window frames; from white limestone façade accents to interior wood walls. All of these materials come together to create a timeless building that is both beautiful and functional, enabling users to benefit from an inspiring and comfortable environment.


Concrete was implemented in the LLC as both a structural material and a design element, with white precast concrete panels adorning the structure's curved surfaces. This allowed for heightened precision in the fabrication process and a reduced-site construction time. Glass also plays a role in the LLC's design, with its number of windows and glazed surfaces admitting natural light deep into the interior. In this way, the use of glass serves both aesthetically and functionally, creating a more open and connected atmosphere.


The strength and durability of steel make it an ideal material for modern construction. Accordingly, the LLC utilizes steel columns, beams, and supports to bear its weight. This also allows for a greater flexibility in design, as the structure can feature large open spaces without the need for load-bearing walls. The malleability of aluminum makes it an excellent material for custom window and door fabrication.


The result is an aesthetically pleasing structure whose custom window sizes and shapes complement the building's flowing form. Finally, stone and wood are used for their enduring beauty and sustainability. The white limestone used on the building's façade harmonizes with the precast concrete, while the interior wood walls create a warm and inviting atmosphere.


from Zaha Hadid Architects
LLC from Zaha Hadid Architects

Conclusion

The Library and Learning Centre in Vienna, designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, is a stunning architectural achievement - combining functionality and aesthetics in remarkable synergy. Its sleek, curving lines and bold angles effortlessly blend with the surrounding urban landscape and create an awe-inspiring sight. Inside, the building's spacious, light-filled rooms are designed to foster creativity, collaboration, and sustainability - emphasizing energy efficiency.


With its striking design and attention to detail, this memorable architectural masterpiece is certain to be an inspiring source of learning and knowledge for years to come - revolutionizing the education sector.


References:

  • https://www.dezeen.com/2008/12/18/library-and-learning-centre-at-the-university-of-economics-business-by-zaha-hadid-architects/

  • https://www.worldconstructionnetwork.com/projects/llc-vienna/

  • https://www.archdaily.com/523598/library-and-learning-centre-university-of-economics-vienna-zaha-hadid-architects

  • https://www.arup.com/projects/library-learning-centre-vienna



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