An international contest is being held for a new 16,000m² interfaith centre in Seestadt Aspern, Vienna
The competition seeks proposals for a landmark new complex featuring education spaces and prayer areas representing the eight main faiths in Austria: Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam, New Apostolic, Sikh, Greek-Othodox and Judaism.
The winning Campus of the Religions proposal will be constructed on a prominent 10,000m² lakeside site within the 240 ha Seestadt Aspern new town, which is part-way through development on land formerly occupied by a disused airfield on the north-eastern fringe of the Austrian capital.
According to the brief: ‘The Campus of Religions in the Urban Lakeside area of Aspern should act as an interreligious forum based on the principle of “togetherness” and be a symbol of “learning from each other”. In connection with the new Church College of Education building it will create a welcoming place for pastoral care, for education, and for extensive cultural exchange – making a special contribution to life in Seestadt.
‘At the same time, it is a singular project that will radiate throughout the City of Vienna and far beyond. It is a peace project that also has international appeal. In addition to the integration of religious, ethical and cultural aspects – this “lighthouse” will therefore also place high demands on its urban planning and architecture.’
Vienna has a population of 1.8 million. Recent developments by UK architects within the wider city include David Chipperfield Architects’ 2011 Peek & Cloppenburg Flagship Store and the University of Economics Vienna’s Library and Learning Centre by Zaha Hadid Architects.
In February, the City of Vienna announced a separate international contest to design a €250 million events hall.
Seestadt Aspern new town has been under development for the past decade. The new neighborhood, masterplanned by Tovatt Architects & Planners, will eventually house about 50,000 residents with fast train links to central Vienna and Bratislava.
Along with prayer spaces for the eight religions, the complex will also feature an educational wing with teaching and research spaces, meeting rooms and quiet areas.
The overall winner, to be announced in July, will receive a €45,000 prize. A second prize of €35,000 and third prize of €24,000 will also be awarded, along with three honorable mentions worth €33,000 in total.
The competition language is German. The deadline for submissions is 22 June and architectural models must arrive before 6 July.
How to apply