• Exoteric Insides: Graz Science Center

    Romina HAFNER, "Exoteric Insides: Graz Science Center." Prototypes, model.
    vienna AUSTRIA

    University of Applied Arts Vienna
    critics: Zaha HADID with Patrik SCHUMACHER & Hannes TRAUPMANN.

    suckerPUNCH: Describe your project.

    Romina HAFNER: Society changes, but our educational systems often lag behind the contemporary development. Exoteric Insides analyses different Types of Knowledge, how they are developed and exchanged, and tries to merge these into one entity.

    The final result is an extension for the Medical University in Graz dealing with the study field of Biomechatronics. It does not only combine a faculty building with a research center and exhibition spaces but through this process of merging creates a more intense field for knowledge exchange and therefore highly functioning working environment.

    The Project deals with the question for the embedding of the human by its built environment. Through extracting data about movement and interaction within spaces, each space becomes the definite representation of its inhabited program. The geometrical systematic is further driven by the solutions of intersections—similar to Venn-Logics—that has a non-minor influence on the program. Spaces and zones can change, adapt and develop in dynamic relation to each other which therefore forms a strong semiologic value. Through the defined readability the system relates back to the starting point: the user. Space is built accordingly to the behavior of the user—the spatial information of the resulting geometry can then again be reinterpreted by the user.

    As a first step spatial setups in different scales were tested and continuously added to a prototype catalogue. These prototypes were reanalyzed in the production of five sectional physical models. These five prototypes became representative of different main programs to be found in the building. They represent on the one hand the purified model of the syntactic relationship of form and thus making them easy to differentiate and on the other hand while staying highly distinguishable they still perform as being members of one family and therefore there is no extreme alienation between the geometries.

    The final result of the Science Center is architecture that is not only optimized for the purpose of everyday function for each one of the different users but also succeeds in connecting functions and users on multiple occasions. This does not only allow a more flexible movement within the building but also does not exclude one user-type from the other. Scientists, students, visitors and commuters become a community. User-specific spaces might be offset from the public stream but is still “accessible” via visual connections—like that, no area is strictly separated and hidden. Like this the science center itself becomes an area for exchange between different groups of people, sharing interests and waking interest in the topic of Biomechatronics and robotic sciences.

    sP: What or who influenced this project?
    RH: UNStudio’s conceptual approach to urban planning, as well as AA DRL works such as Corporate Fields were the biggest architectural influences. Hugh Herr’s projects at the MIT Media Lab influenced the project thematically.

    sP: What were you reading/listening to/watching while developing this project?
    RH: “An Awesome Wave” by Alt-J, in particular, was constantly in my headphones. Then, Jungle; Godspeed You! Black Emperor; Chet Faker; and SOHN. In the early phase of the project, I read articles by Sanford Kwinter and Jeffrey Kipnis, and The City and its Sciences by Cristoforo Bertuglia. An inspirational must-see for me is Chris Hadfield’s TED talk.

    sP: Whose work is currently on your radar?
    RH: Works of the ICD Stuttgart, installations by Troika London, and visualizations by MIR.

    Additional credits and links:
    The project was supported by the science department of Graz.

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