The Kepler Hall, the Learning Center, the Circus of Knowledge, and Science Park 4 & 5 - the JKU campus unveils its newest additions.
JKU employees recently had an opportunity to tour the new campus additions and enjoy fun performances and surprises. In lieu of the coronavirus pandemic and regulations to work from home, over the past months many employees could often only experience the campus and ‘meet’ with co-workers online. The joy was that much greater today at the opening. Employees had a chance to re-discover "their" campus and explore the new buildings on-site and in-person. The program included unique surprise performances, such as Linz Science Slam winners Andrea Navarro-Quezada and Anna Spindlberger at the Circus of Knowledge. A “spin wheel” in the new Thalia branch at the Learning Center gave employees a chance to win one of many cool prizes.
Since 2018, the Johannes Kepler University Linz campus has been undergoing renovation and construction financed by the Bundesimmobiliengesellschaft as property owner and developer. The Kepler Hall, the Learning Center, the LIT Open Innovation Center, the Somnium atop the TN Tower and, just this year, the Circus of Knowledge and new Science Park buildings were all added to the campus. Together with existing buildings, such as the Keplergebäude Building, all of these new additions have created an impressive, large-scale campus that combines both old and new as well as natural areas and a sense of urban living.
To mark the occasion, JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas remarked: "The new JKU campus is both an oasis and a vibrant center, providing space for education, studying, research, curiosity, vision, art, but also fun, joy and relaxation. While the campus serves to link various faculties and disciplines, it also connects people. I hope it inspires university employees and area residents as much as it has inspired me."
The Bundesimmobilien Gesellschaft (BIG) serves as building owner in support of campus development and the Science Park. During his on-site inspection, managing director DI Hans-Peter Weiss remarked: "Completion of the Kepler Hall and the Learning Center means two additional, key buildings to support campus enhancement at the JKU are done. Now that buildings 4 & 5 are finished at the Science Park, the Science Park is also done. The result is a modern university area containing many green spaces, creating a bridge between university education, research, and the business community. The entire Science Park serves as a model in terms of being eco-friendly. Concrete core activation helps keep the building cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Energy is extracted from groundwater and all of the rooftops have green spaces."
Former JKU Rector Richard Hagelauer, who also provided the funding to build the Circus of Knowledge, was also at the opening celebrations. To mark his retirement, he financed the project using his external research funds: "The Circus of Knowledge will give the courtyard area new meaning. It creates a wonderful space for childlike curiosity, which I - as the father of three children – appreciate very much. Age-appropriate activities and playful discovery are the key to quenching children's thirst for knowledge and sparking their curiosity. I hope that the Circus of Knowledge will become a place where a great many children can discover and enjoy knowledge."
The following buildings are now officially open:
- The Circus of Knowledge (architects Luger & Maul) was completed this year, providing space for 300 visitors. Children in particular can discover the world of science in a playful way and engage all of all their senses. Clowns, artists, acrobats, and performers will use their talents for educational purposes.
- The Science Park is a total of five buildings intended to represent the five fingers of a hand that is pointing towards the city center. Science Park 4 & 5 were completed this year and are extensions of buildings 1 to 3.
o Science Park 4 (Caramel Architects) provides additional space for institutes from the Faculty of Engineering & Natural Sciences and also has a rehearsal room for the University Orchestra.
o Science Park 5 (also designed by Caramel Architects) is a JKU administrative building (i.e. controlling, human resources management, event management, university communications...). Science Park 5 is home to the LIMAK (the JKU's executive education program and business school).
· - The Kepler Hall (Riepl und Riepl Architekten) was finished in 2020 and is the JKU’s modern reception building, containing the JKU merchandise store, exercise rooms, a multi-purpose hall, a gym, sauna, and the USI (University Sports Institute). The building also provides space for exhibitions and events.
· The Learning Center (also Riepl and Riepl) is an extension to the Main Campus Library, offering 330 spaces to read and study as well as several group-study rooms. The Learning Center, however, is much more than an extension of the library; it supports new standards of learning and studying, such as access to the JKU Ö1 Box.
The Ö1 Box at the Learning Center Provides Access to the ORF’s Historical ArchivesThe new JKU campus has not only undergone renovation and enhancements, the Ö1 Box at the Learning Center is a unique addition that provides library users with access to ORF’s historical archives as well as all past Ö1 science and education broadcasts. Library users now have immediate access to approximately seven million database documents ins the ORF archives and corresponding audio and video media.
Rector Meinhard Lukas is excited about the new possibilities: "The Ö1 Box at the Learning Center takes research possibilities at the JKU to a whole new level. I am proud that we have one of the most important contemporary sources of historical collections pertaining to contemporary Austrian history here on campus and would like to thank Ö1 for this great opportunity."
Martin Bernhofer, head of programming at Ö1, added: "The new Ö1 Box at the Johannes Kepler University Linz provides access to the ORF archives, making the vast Ö1 archives in science and education available for scholarly use. Ö1’s presence at the interface of scholarly research, investigation, and audience contact is also part of our 'mission statement' as we open the station to be a part of knowledge transfer and communication between academia and the public. We are pleased that such an openly accessible and attractive location has been created in Linz for this purpose and we are excited about new projects and dialog about science and research in a social context."
Herbert Hayduck, head of the ORF archives, stated: "The research station at the Johannes Kepler University Linz gives academics and scientists direct access to approximately seven million database documents at the ORF archives as well as corresponding audio and video media. This provides direct access to one of the most important sources of contemporary Austrian history for scholarly use. In this regard, we are building a virtual bridge between academia and the ORF archives; audiovisual documents will be directly available to students and educators to support their research. For the past several years, similar ORF archive stations at other Austrian universities have become successful models, stimulating and facilitating a wide range of collaboration efforts between academia and ORF. We are developing the concept further in Linz and the ORF archive resources are being embedded as part of a broad connection between Ö1 and academia. We are excited to see what additional projects will yield!"