Caruso St John Architects

Location: Vienna, AT
Client: Erste Bank
Project Status: Competition

This design was submitted in an invited competition for a 130,000 sq m Headquarters for the Erste Bank, on a key site within the masterplan for the redevelopment of the quarter around the Vienna South Station. The building was to stand on a prominent corner of Arsenalstrasse and the Gurtel, overlooking the Schweizer garten and the Belvedere. The situation required a representational building that not only reflected the values of the Erste Bank, but also gave an image to the whole of the planned quarter, at the point where it formed a new face towards the city.

The volumetric quality of this design, with its rhythm of forward and backward stepping facades with grand palazzo like proportions, transformed the development from being an open block to being an urban figure, that engaged in a composition with the Park and the Belvedere. The facades suggested a series of large pavilions standing close together along the border of the park, referring to the spatial urban planning of Schinkel’s design for the centre of Berlin along the Spree, where careful positioning and spacing of large buildings changes the public space between them.

The office plans had 15m deep floorplates, arranged around a series of large courtyards, so that the inward and outward aspects from all the workspaces were generous and varied. The two main courtyards were publicly accessible, and located so as to make them part of a natural route across the site for pedestrians walking between the park, station and s-bahn stops.