suckerPUNCH: describe your project.
stefan RITTER: My thesis researches novel part-to-whole relationships between figure and void and their development into architectural super components. The technique of sub-dividing a singular massing into components allows for spatially differentiated program, while maintaining a coherent whole. The resulting spacial effects are three-dimensionally nested super components that are at the same time separated as well as connected through an urban void.
The project is the headquarters for the Pan-African Energy Agency an invented political institution devoted to creating stable and sustainable energy systems for both Africa and Europe.
The building is situated in the vacant traffic islands of Vienna’s Mexikoplatz (Vienna is also home to the OPEC and the IAEA). Due to the site’s exposure on two major traffic axes, the goal for the massing was to balance a bold and broadly visible iconic gesture with the different scales of the urban fabric (iconic skyline along the Danube and block-typology towards the city center).
Additional to the political institution the building should become a destination for the public – resulting in six typologically differentiated programmatic units: research tower, convention center, education center and museum, headquarters component, delegations component, and an entry hall component. At strategic moments the components interconnect, e.g. the library connects the research tower to the education center. To achieve civic address each component presents its main space to the city as a crystalline glass volume.
The energy design of the building aims to impact the climate of the surrounding public. The thermal roof creates enough hot water, which is pumped through the structure, to heat the building in winter and cool it in summer (via absorption chain heat converters) without any external energy. Natural ventilation is given by two air intake pipes in the direction of the prevailing winds at the Danube and an exhaust at the roofs highest point. In summer the building radiates a cool breeze through the park, in winter the generated heat is stored in tanks within the landscape of the Mexikoplatz keeping the park free of ice.
sP: what or who influenced this project?
sR: Greg Lynn, Kristy Balliet, Justin Diles, Guvenc Ozel, Olliver Bertram, Brennan Buck, my family, friends, and colleagues
sP: what were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
sR: purple fashion / metronomy / desperate housewives
sP: whose work is currently on your radar?
sR: Heather Roberge, Haider Ackermann, Sarah Witing, Urs Fischer, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jeffrey Deitch, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Manfred Mohr
Model photos by Reiner Zettl