Center of Excellence – WKO Steiermark
1st Prize, open, two-phase realization competition
The urban design solution for the Center of Excellence highlights its role as a new educational hotspot in Graz. Thanks to its self-confident yet respectful approach to its environment the building complex enjoys a positive symbiosis with the existing urban fabric. The winning team also created a generous, richly diverse square at the heart of the WKO site that confidently continues the clear spatial sequence that runs through the city and will connect all surrounding buildings, present and future. The result is a series of high quality meeting spaces that will especially appeal to young people.
“The design extends the high-quality, park-like character of the WKO site to Grabenstraße where the building addresses the outside world in the form of a huge educational display window”, says the architect Paul Ohnmacht, Head of Design of ATP Innsbruck, describing the design idea. “In the same way that the technical nature of the educational facility is represented by the metal, glass and timber façade the varied work-based and training activities can be seen in the generous “exhibition format” of the façade to the base.”
A large number of the spaces are indeed workshops which are located at ground level for functional reasons. This is made possible by a highly flexible slab. Penetrated by atria this guarantees short travel distances, optimal logistics, and easy adaptation. The subtle suppression of the building at the street corner emphasizes the new complex without detracting from the existing presence of the WKO ensemble.
Competitionteam: Christoph M. Achammer, Robert Kelca, D&R Innsbruck, Sibille Elisabeth (TGA), Landscape architecture: Kieran Fraser, Vienna