Austria's Largest Campus Continues to Grow

Rector Lukas and BIG CEO Weiss present the winner of the international architecture competition for "Campus West" with the "House of Schools".

von links: Architekt Diplomingenieur Peter Sapp, Rektor Meinhard Lukas, BIG-CEO Hans-Peter Weiss
von links: Architekt Diplomingenieur Peter Sapp, Rektor Meinhard Lukas, BIG-CEO Hans-Peter Weiss

The Johannes Kepler University Linz is Upper Austria’s largest educational institution as well as the largest campus in Austria featuring a total area of over 365,000 m2. The buildings already effectively take up an area of approximately 160,000 m2, whereas lecture halls, classrooms and study zones alone account for about 40,000 m2. In addition, the LIT Open Innovation Center (approx. 8,000 m2), the Somnium (approx. 800 m2), the Kepler Hall (approx. 3,000 m2), and the Learning Center (approx. 2,500 m2) have been added to the campus areal. Next year, Science Park 4 (approx. 10,000 m2), Science Park 5 (approx. 7,500 m2), and the Circus of Knowledge (approx. 500 m2) will be finished. The LIMAK will return to campus (Science Park 5). An additional 16,000 m2 will be built at the JKU’s MedCampus.

During a joint press conference with Hans-Peter Weiss (CEO of the Federal Real Estate Company) and architect DI Peter Sapp (querkraft), JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas remarked: "The space we have serves as a home for our 20,000 students and our JKU team of 3,500 employees. The campus setting is a major asset in this area. The JKU already offers future-oriented educational programs and working and research conditions. At the same time, we want to plan for the coming decades and together with BIG, we launched an international architectural competition to create 'Campus West'. The submission by the internationally renowned architectural office of querkraft Architekten proved to be a step ahead of the others with their design for the 'House of Schools'. They have created a spectacular space for university facilities of the future."

Hans-Peter Weiss, CEO of Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft, added: "The BIG Group creates the spatial conditions needed to develop a modern, inspiring and vibrant campus. In addition to the recently completed Kepler Hall and the Learning Center, the 'House of Schools' will be the western extension of the JKU Campus. A special feature of the House of Schools will be the building structure’s high degree of flexibility that can facilitate research as well as the university’s requirements to be versatile for future adaptations. In terms of sustainability, the project is highly efficient and boasts a climate-friendly energy concept. The building will be cooled and heated by means of depth probes combined with heating pumps. The planned PV system will generate the energy required for climate control during both the winter and the summer seasons."

House of Schools
The "House of Schools" will feature a new, attractive courtyard as part of the ensemble of existing buildings, defining a clear border to the edge of the northern campus area. At a total investment volume of up to 90 million euros, the three "Schools" will be located southwest of the campus on an area of approx. 6,000 m2, creating around 20,000 m2 of total usable space. Peter Sapp (architectural firm querkraft) added: "The new buildings will also take both the existing axes and the tree population on the campus into account. The current main access route axis will be extended and continued, forming a clear and concise system for future campus developments."  By keeping the existing parking lot located northwest of the campus, the parking garage can be reduced in size. The parking lot can be easily expanded if there are future plans for construction on the west part of campus. The parking garage’s modular construction means that in the future, it can also be used for recreational purposes by, for example, removing ceiling elements.

The ground floor will be a lively, bustling area that can be used in many different ways. The large passageway will connect the ground floor to usable spaces as well as to the open atrium located on higher level floors and to the lecture halls, which extend down to the basement. It will be a flowing space designed to support communication and concentration as well as a lively learning area. The exterior will feature additive elements such as sun protection, climate buffering, PV panels, climbing plants, etc.

One Campus - Two Universities
JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas added: "As we are planning for the long term, we can respond to new challenges at short notice. The winning design’s open-concept plan is also ideal to create the core for the new TU for Digitization. Construction could start immediately as the architectural competition has concluded and all of the conditions and specifications under public procurement law have been met. The project would create 20,000 m2 of floor space and would be a highly interesting starting point for a new university. The new TU and the JKU will be interlinked and in this regard, existing educational and administrative infrastructures can be used together. The formula of “Two Universities, One Campus, One Administration, One LIT” is the right answer for this project and the location. Austria's largest campus has the potential for two Kepler Universities in an international format."

About the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft
The BIG Group has approximately 2,012 properties, making it one of the nation’s largest real estate owners. Their portfolio consists of around 7.3 million m2 of rentable space with a business value (fair value) of around EUR 12.8 billion. Office and residential properties are pooled in the subsidiary ARE Austrian Real Estate Ltd. ARE’s portfolio is comprised of 558 properties with about 1.7 million square meters of rentable space. Whereas BIG tends to concentrate primarily on public institutions, ARE's real estate aims to attract more non-public tenants. As a building owner, the BIG Group represents an important economic factor in Austria. As is consistently demonstrated, economic efficiency and architectural quality go hand-in-hand. Each and every project aims to meet the requirements as outlined by its future users in terms of ecological, economic and socio-cultural sustainability. The BIG Group has received several awards for its architectural commitment and to date, has received eleven building owner awards.