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Boku Vienna, SWAP Architekten, Photo: Herta Hurnaus

Digitised Wood Construction: Boku Vienna by SWAP Architects

The new library and seminar centre by SWAP Architects is a new addition to the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna’s Döbling district. The listed main building from 1896 had already been renovated in a project completed in 2016, and in 2018 the campus gained a new volume designed by Baumschlager Hutter Partners. A detached building constructed in wood now follows. 

The four-storey institute building offering some 3,000 square metres of floor space incorporates prefabricated cross-laminated timber elements, reinforced concrete for the base and stairwell and untreated wood for the exterior. The façade grid is repeated in the interior on the ceilings of the entrance level and library, making a design element out of the structural system and lending the building a character of its own. Full-height glazing fosters dialogue between the interior and the surroundings. Individual window elements can be opened, thus enabling use of the terrace as a student gathering spot when the weather allows.    

The open-concept entrance level serves as a focal and information point for students and lecturers alike, and features a canteen shop as well as a food coop. The spatial programme comprises ten seminar rooms for 500 students, a library with 100 study places and 40 institute rooms. The two lower storeys contain the larger seminar rooms, two of which can be joined and together with the foyer thus form a space for events.      

Institute rooms, each with its own meeting room and tea kitchen, are located on the upper storeys. The study places in the library and in the seminar rooms on the higher floor are oriented north-east to greenery with a valuable stock of trees. A pleasant learning and working environment is fostered by the use of wood and the abundance of natural light.    

District heating is used to heat the building, with the heat recovery component of the ventilation system playing a supporting role. As the overall environmental assessment showed, the high energy efficiency of the outer skin in combination with the highly efficient implementation of the building services meets the ultra-low energy building standards. Scoring 965 out of 1,000 possible points, the library and seminar centre has thus gained the Austrian klimaaktiv Gold sign of distinction. 

Accompanying monitoring provided data on the timber components on an on-going basis, with sensors fitted to the prefabricated wood elements transmitting information on current temperatures and humidity during transport and on-site construction with the help of a tracking tool.

Further Information:

General planner: DELTA
Timber construction: Lieb Bau Weiz
Carpenter: Gleichweit
Board-Plywood: Stora Enso

Eva Rapid Layouting 
IVAN Virtual Reality
Revit BIM 
CLT360+ / Stora Enso Firmware

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