Günther Domenig & Eilfried Huth

Competition University, Vienna, 1974

The competition for the expansion of the University of Vienna organized by Günther Feuerstein in 1973-74, saw Huth and Domenig working together for the last time; indeed the two architects parted company in 1973.  With the Medium Total project in 1969-70, Huth and Domenig had opened the path towards a new kind of architecture, transformed into a mutating biological organism, an idea that would later inspire the concept of constructions that evolve and adapt to their environment. Their Olympics Pavilion (Swimming Hall) in Munich (1970-72) and the Multipurpose Hall in Graz-Eggenberg (1974-77) provide the most clearly apparent   examples of this approach. Their design for the expansion of the University of Vienna follows a principle of cellular multiplication and the agglomeration of units, linked to each other in an organic whole. The collection of drawings for the project clearly expresses the chosen approach of concentrating the buildings into clusters, which also offered the long-term advantage of potentially allowing for future growth in multiple directions. The architects developed a three-dimensional system of integration in which the buildings and axes of circulation are closely linked because they are thought out together. This complex principle of organization generates a virtually unrestricted arrangement of the cylindrical structures. However, these cylinders are separated into three zones corresponding to constructions of different height. The pedestrian traffic system, made up of many footbridges, runs counter to the idea of one main axis. Instead, it proposes many possible pathways offering the promise of richer psychological and sensorial experiences, within what can be considered as a sort of organism. The organization of the façades, whose openings on several levels are reminiscent of organic scales, would be reused by Günther Domenig in later projects, including the Forschungszentrum in Graz (1976) and the Zentralparkasse Filiale in Vienna (1979).

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