The ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) has decided to build their corporate headquarters in the immediate vicinity of the new Vienna main train station. The Viennese architectural firm Zechner & Zechner emerged as winners from the two-stage, EU-wide architectural planning competition in 2009.
The aim of the concept was to find an outstanding architectural object for the corporate headquarters, which was to provide optimal working and communication conditions for the approximately 1600 employees from various different ÖBB companies.
The 88m high office tower acts as a landmark for the new district south of the new Central Train Station. An S-shaped curve of the building and the recess at the site‘s northern border opens the structure to the forecourt. The dynamically curved main form and the smooth rounded surface are reminiscent of modern high-speed trains.
The configuration of the floor plan allows maximum flexibility of the various office organisation options. The strategy of reversible offices has proven to be the optimal concept in terms of investment because of its high flexibility, which makes it easily adaptable to individual user‘s requirements.
Zechner & Zechner designed a sustainable “slim building” with low primary energy consumption and limited use of domestic engineering, while at the same time having a healthy and comfortable climate. Regulatable external sun blinds, natural ventilation, heat dissipation via automatic ventilation, the redirection of light to optimise natural illumination and reduce energy consumption for lighting and natural humidification with islands of plants are used to achieve this.
The building is equipped with a double skin façade and supplied by district heating and cooling. Thanks to the activation of thermal mass and consistent use of waste heat a very low total energy consumption can be guaranteed.
“Only travel is life, as life is travel.” Jean Paul (1763–1825).
A distinctive corporate architecture was developed for the interior design of the ÖBB Headquarters in Vienna based on the CI of the ÖBB through the architectural thematization of concepts of mobility and travel.
Within the context, the line element of the ÖBB was reinterpreted and the resulting algorithmic graphic line used as a basic design tool. The centerpiece of the design has been developed in cooperation with United Everything: a 3, 6 km long, mobile screen, which shows a journey through Austria. It spans through the 23 stories, individually divides or zones functional areas, improves acoustics and creates atmosphere with imagery. This constructs a rhythm of the passing landscape, not only through manifested visual sensory impressions, but also through concepts such as acceleration and deceleration. Thus, a contemporary working environment with functional areas of different qualities was created, meeting at the same time the desires of an increased need for spontaneous communication and of withdrawal or concentration.
Along with the floor design appears a thematically transparent and atmospheric space, which flows into the central zone in an open communication surface, distinguishing through haptic clarity the areas of movement and communication from the working areas and dividing complementarily the gigantic space. On one hand, motion and interaction become implicit and, on the other hand, warmth, softness and quiet appear with the excellent acoustics. Closed, open communications and retreat areas are arranged along the middle zone to create a communicative center that diminishes disturbance to the communication and concentrated work. Across the zone of the working spaces are displayed textile screens that work as filter, dynamic surface and create adjacent spaces.
This design concept continues into the multifunctional sky lobby. On the one hand, the textile room dividers allow variable zoning, and on the other hand generate different atmospheres in interaction with light and graphic.
The artistic abstract graphic on the subject of trains can be transformed by changing the LED RGB light. For each light tone the graphic modifies neutralizing other colors. The graphical image begins to move and changes with light; this can be used statically or dynamically, depending on the event.