Salzburg’s striking Building Academy stands as a contemporary ode to Austria’s longstanding ability to wow us with her architecture and design. From the medieval fare of Salzburg’s Old Town, to the work of Viennese revolutionaries, Otto Wagner and Adolf Loos, the Salzburg Building Academy is internationally recognised for its innovative use and manipulation of fluid concrete in architecture, a fitting momento to Austria's design and architectural legacy.
As designed by soma architects, the striking entrance lobby of the Salzburg Building Academy provides a space that has an open, sharing atmosphere, one which aligns itself well with the foyer’s primary purpose as a cultural centre and school lobby, full of presentations, cinema screenings, school classes and rehearsals.
First seen through a large pane of panelled glass that opens the entire lobby up into view, the combination of the gently angled roof and clever directional lighting provide a smooth transition between the building’s internal and external form, an idea of fluidity and continuity continues once you step inside.
Large concrete pillars morph into a viscous internal roof, creating a fluid structure whose aesthetics plays with the idea of an urban jungle-cum-fauna from another world. The huge, curved viscous shapes are formed from exposed concrete, a material that can be difficult to work with on such a scale, and which demanded soma to do thorough testing through 1:1 mock ups, before any mixers could ever be turned on.
Enhanced by directed lighting, the finely triangulated geometric surface of the internal roof’s concrete structure makes way for a distinctive play with light and shadow, a delicate effect that was achieved by testing an array of different milling techniques.
The roof’s subtle angular designs and geometric motions also allude to not only the Building Academy’s advanced competencies and teaching focuses, but also reflect the structure’s ability to merge with the wider building’s geometry as a whole, seamlessly blending striking design while maintaining its own architectural presence.
For a truly arty Salzburg stay, stay in one of the city’s architecture gems and head over to Arthotel Blaue Gans, indulging yourself in some art and foodie finery in Salzburg’s oldest coaching inn (and just around the corner from Mozart’s old haunt, too). For more architecture, art and design in Salzburg, peek in our Travel Journal at the Salzburg Modern Art Walk, the Salzburg Festival, read up on design and architecture at Arthotel Blaue Gans itself and, for more architecture itself, check out Lisbon’s MAAT, Fendi in Rome, a Swiss bathhouse of luxe design, Zaha Hadid’s Cilento Seascape and Messner Mountain Musuem and an art legend’s galleried masterpiece in Zurich.
Images © Florian Häfele