Danube University Krems is facing up to the social challenge of lifetime learning: established in 1995 it is the leading university in Europe that has specialised in postgraduate continuing education in various subjects as medecine, health and social service, education, media and communication, arts, culture and building as well as economics and law.
The building programme for the new University campus includes the library, auditoriums and units of applied sciences, a film gallery with a study centre and numerous research facilities. The location on a slope between the voluminous old already transformed tabacco fectory and a romantic estate of villas among the vineyards presented the challenge of connecting extremely heterogeneous contexts. Instead of making parallel wings between the old tobacco factory and the small colony of villas, Dietmar Feichtinger proposed a comb-like structure, which the jury judged to be the optimum basic structure. Instead of exploiting the different heights of the site in the obvious way by embedding most of the building, Dietmar Feichtinger Architects used a composition of three parallel, broadly projecting volumes at the upper edge of the site to produce a situation that, in contrast to an underground ambiance, creates even in its low-lying internal courtyards a free, open and transparent ensemble of coolly self-assured educational buildings.