Vienna, 12th June 2023 – Thunderous applause filled the hydraulic engineering laboratory of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna (Universität für Bodenkultur Wien – BOKU) as it opened its sluices to allow 10,000 liters of water from the Danube to flow through the building every second. The unique facility uses the height difference between the Danube and the Danube Canal at Brigittenauer Sporn to carry out the world’s first full-scale (1:1) practice-based model tests and applied research on water, one of the very bases of our lives, on behalf of future generations.
A visibly proud BOKU Rector, Eva Schulev-Steindl, describes the hydraulic engineering laboratory as a pioneering work and USP of the university. And the initiator, Professor Helmut Habersack of the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and River Research also emphasizes that the facility’s ability to promote knowhow about the use and protection of rivers is globally unique. The many invitees included representatives from politics, research, and business as well as special guests from Austria and abroad. Austria’s Minister for Labor and the Economy Martin Kocher is delighted by this clear strengthening of the research location, which will benefit hydraulic engineering research across Europe.
The new four-story building, whose precise high-tech façade merges with the reflection of the sky and the waves of the Danube, forms an aesthetic counterpart to the historic neighboring buildings by Otto Wagner. Planned on the basis of a winning competition scheme by ATP architects engineers Vienna – in a consortium with iC Consulenten – the hydraulic engineering laboratory is also innovative and highly efficient in terms of building physics and building services.
“Integrated design with BIM enabled our architects and engineers to translate the many demands on the laboratory into an optimized building concept and to realize a highly-complex, forward-looking research institute,” explains the architect Horst Reiner, ATP Partner and Managing Director in Vienna.
The BOKU’s new external facility offers 100 workspaces for research or commercial activities, a lecture theater for 200 students, meeting rooms, a library, a three-story office wing, a river lab, a public lab, and special indoor and outdoor labs for research into sustainable hydroelectric power, flood protection, shipping, and ecology, all against the background of climate change.