Concrete Plunges from Zaha Hadid University Library

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Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
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A chunk of concrete weighing around 80 kilograms has plummeted from the façade of a fifteen month old building at a major university in Austria.

Following an earlier incident when a piece of fibreglass-reinforced concrete fell to the ground in front of the entrance of the Library and Learning Centre at the Vienna University of Economics last year – an event which the contractor later blamed on an ‘assembly error’ – Austrian newspaper Die Presse has reported that a hunk of concrete cladding fell from the same building last Friday night.

Clad in fibreglass reinforced concrete, the centre – which opened in October 2013 – is said to be the crown jewel of the University’s new campus and is noted for its massive angled black volume which cantilevers out over the main entrance.

Indeed, the building won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ European Award last year, judges praising designers Zaha Hadid Architects not only on the cantilevered structure but also degree of spaciousness and light within the atrium, spatial features including the polished finish of the in-situ interior concrete structure as well as a series of attractive day-lit circulation areas and working areas that provided the university’s ‘cultural heart’, and remarking of the popularity of the space and that if ever a new university campus required a significant gesture to place it on the European architectural map, the building ‘certainly delivers it with massive self-assurance, producing a true ‘icon’ for the new campus’.

Whilst the building remains open, FastCompany has reported that the main entrance and parts of the surrounding pathway have been cordoned off, and that contractors are expected to investigate the cause of this latest incident before drawing up a report.

There were no reports of injuries.

The latest incident follows the collapse of a residential apartment block in the Austrian capital in which one person was found dead and 13 were injured in April last year after a 19-year-old’s gas explosion suicide caused the top two floors of the block to fall in.

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