The knowledge and communication center in Leoben, Austria, reinterprets the traditional perception of a library – a place for books. The new strategic design transforms it into a space for the community, uniting knowledge transfer and social connectivity. Surrounded by universities, schools, the city hall as well as the museum quarter, it unites those educational institutions as sort of an indoor equivalent of a public park, establishing a social hub for the city. Integrated into the ground floor of the Museum Center Leoben, the learning establishment´s spatial concept follows a democratic idea, connecting people from all walks of life offering a place that is both free, low-threshold and safe. It also responds to the topics of our time, focusing on sustainability and well-being while creating the feeling of togetherness. The element of the circle represents both the conceptual link between the heterogenous parts of the existing museum building, a historic convent structure with an extension by Günther Domenig, and the common ground for books and people. A colored band of modular shelves extends the circular flooring pattern into the third dimension, forming a spatial framework. Corresponding to the contemporary concept of a knowledge and communication center, the institution provides bespoke environments for socializing, collaborating, and concentrating with gradual levels of privacy. Thus, it introduces formal and informal spaces to the individual as well as the community for various activities ranging from public areas to quiet study and working zones. Functionally, the interior is structured in three main parts: firstly the information center with welcome desk, digital library and coffee point, secondly the open stacks with various cooperative and contemplative zones and thirdly the separable active area with toy library and venues for public readings as well as writing workshops. The holistic concept offers several types of creative places with customized tactile and spatial qualities, aiming to support the intake of knowledge. The diverse settings respond to different body positions, ranging from sitting to rocking and leaning to lounging, stimulating creativity and brain activity. The city´s long tradition in mining and metallurgy as a place of steel manufacturing is enweaved as part of the local identity into this learning environment with an orange color scheme and abstract montane motifs.
INNOCAD was founded in 1999 by Martin Lesjak and Peter Schwaiger. Since then, the team has completed numerous projects of various sizes and scopes within the fields of architecture and interior design, including residential, office, hospitality, healthcare, mixed-use, educational, public, and retail. Internationally renowned for their “out of the box” thinking, their analytical, pragmatic, and unconventional approach seeks to create solutions with purpose and meaning. The focus is primarily on the work‘s relevance, as well as adhering to a responsibility to cultivate a consistent vision – “work with your brain, act from your heart” – with an aim to transdisciplinary. In addition to many signature corporate, housing, and institutional works, current projects include an international school in King Abdullah Economic City (UAE), a competence center for MAM Health & Innovation, the Radisson RED hotel in Vienna (AT) and a new housing product, combining serviced living and co-living.