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Second panel falls from Zaha’s Vienna library


A second panel has fallen off Zaha Hadid Architects’ Library and Learning Centre at the Vienna University of Economics and Business

A temporary cordon has been erected around parts of the iconic building after an 80 kilogram concrete panel crashed to the ground on Friday (2 January).

Nobody was injured during the incident which is now being investigated by contractors who plan to reveal their findings before the end of the week.

The latest problem comes just months after a glass reinforced concrete slab measuring 1.2 by 2.5 metres fell from the structure – reported Austrian newspaper Die Presse.

The first faulty panel landed immediately in front of the library’s main entrance on a Sunday in July 2014. Nobody was hurt during the early morning incident which took place while university students were on summer vacation.

The 28,000m² building is the centrepiece of the university’s new campus within Vienna’s second district.

Featuring a library; classrooms and a café; the landmark structure first opened to students in October 2013 (see AJ 03.11.13).

University statement

An 80kg section of the Library & Learning Center façade broke loose and fell on Friday evening, January 2. The cause of the incident is as yet undetermined. Only material damages were sustained.

After a similar incident in July 2014, the façade panels under the cantilevered monitor on the LC building were all reinforced with additional edge supports, and all other panels were inspected for damage under the builders’ warranty. After completion of these inspections, external experts and the company that originally installed the panels confirmed that the façade was safe.

The recurrence of this problem is extremely aggravating and potentially dangerous

The recurrence of this problem is both extremely aggravating and potentially dangerous. Safety is WU’s top priority. As we are not willing to enter into any further risk, the area in front of the LC building has been blocked off. Until further notice, access to the library is possible only through the side entrance by the Library Café.

An independent appraisal of the damage to the right side of the building will be conducted and a report on the causes submitted. The company that originally installed the panels will also be re-inspecting the entire façade. Results of this inspection are expected to be available by the end of the week. Further steps to be taken will be decided after receipt of these results.



Readers' comments (2)

  • Chris Rogers

    Is this building - opened just a year ago - really 'iconic', especially in a city which has the twin museums on the Kartnerring and the cathedral? No, so please stop misusing the silly term.

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  • Not sure about 'iconic' - but there seems to be a very thin line between innovative/spectacular and in-your-face/thuggish.

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