Zaha Hadid has left her signature, incredible curves and sensuous forms in many cities across the globe, with Vienna thankfully being a recipient of her extraordinary talents and vision. Commissioned as a library and learning centre, the building is at the heart of the new university campus, rising as a polygonal block. The internal primary functions of the building are referenced by the external appearance – using two colours separated by a glass joint – creating what Hadid referred to as a ‘shell and shadow’ effect.
In contrast to the crisp, sharp lines of the exterior, the internal lines soften into becoming curvilinear and fluid to generate a free-formed interior canyon that serves as the principal public plaza of the centre, as well as generating corridors and bridges ensuring smooth transitions between different levels.
The cantilevered study room, 28 metres above the ground and hanging up to 16 metres over the entrance of the building, has quickly become a focal point for the new campus and a local landmark; it’s nicknamed the Monitor.