After a prequalification phase with approximately 60 participants, Snøhetta in collaboration with its local partner architect Podsedensek was selected to contribute one of 15 competition entries for a new media centre. The challenge was to connect the new buildings to a complex existing infrastructure of offices, workshops and studios that were protected as monuments by the City of Vienna.
Snøhetta chose to approach the task with a social democratic attitude, reflecting the public character of the broadcasting corporation, and to open up the new building complex to the public through an open architecture and a landscape design that invites to approach and walk on.
The guiding design principles are:
• circulation of people
• connecting old and new buildings
• accessible media landscape
• openness and transparency
At the core of the media centre is a multi-media newsroom which serves as the heart of the Austrian public broadcasting corporation, distributing information to TV, radio and internet news channels. The connection with and the integration of the new multi-media newsroom into the existing protected building complex is achieved by creating ORBIT as a constructive element. ORBIT embraces and contains the necessary functions while at the same time rooting in the landscape. By lifting ORBIT in the middle, the supporting functions are lifted above the technical service areas, allowing a free operation and access to the production workshops.
A key aspect of the concept is the openness of the whole site. There is no physical barrier along the main entrance to the site, which allows the visitors to walk onto the ramp and roof and gain insights of the fascinating process of media production.