In July, the jury of the architectural competition convened and selected two design concepts for the new university building on Spitzberg hill. Now that the results of the competition are out, could you perhaps elaborate on the plans and explain the way forward?
Dr Achim Dilling: An 'International Centre for Scholarship and Science' with a usable floor area of around 4,800 square metres will be built on the Spitzberg site below Löwenbrauerei Passau, so between Nikolakloster and Dr. Hans-Kapfinger-Straße. It will be one of the largest integral extensions in the development of the grounds since the university was founded. In addition to a new Audimax, which will also serve as a venue for concerts, the new building will accommodate seminar rooms, offices and a cafeteria. In their architectural design, the two winning proposals by the Leipzig-based architects W&V Architekten GmbH and the Linz-based firm Riepl & Riepl Architekten ZT GmbH articulate a forward-looking vision of the University of Passau's high international standing. And this is just what it needed to take full advantage of further growth opportunities afforded by the Hightech Agenda and the AI Initiative of the Free State of Bavaria with a view to pulling the university and City of Passau even closer together and fostering a unique hub of culture and science. Over the next two to three months, both architect firms will revise their designs and set out the particulars in accordance with the feedback they received from the competition jury. Both designs have the same chance of being implemented. The final decision will be taken shortly once the revision stage has been completed.
The University of Passau has grown by one-third in recent years – the AI Initiative and Hightech Agenda you just mentioned come with new challenges. Moreover, two new degree programmes in digitalisation will be launched in autumn. What kind of space management concept does the University of Passau have?
Dr Achim Dilling: Our strategic space management primarily aims to maintain the campus-like nature of our university. The search for areas that would be suitable for the extension of university facilities is usually rather wide-ranging and generally conducted without any pre-conceived ideas, while ease of access to the campus of the University of Passau is always given very high priority. It will be some time before the new building on Spitzberg hill is completed. Until then we will be leasing facilities to accommodate our urgent need for extra space. We filed an application for additional premises with the Science Ministry last year. In October 2019, the Bavarian State Ministry of Science and the Arts endorsed the need, giving us the go-ahead to search for appropriate rooms. Now we have found what we were looking for.
What additional premises was the University of Passau able to find? How will they be used?
Dr Achim Dilling: As early as autumn this year, we will be able to move into new premises at Dr. Hans-Kapfinger-Straße 28 which measure around 1,000 square metres. For the most part, these premises consist of seminar rooms on the ground and the first floor. Additionally, the University just recently leased around 2,000 square meters in the Sparkassen building on Ludwigstraße. Besides offices for the university's chairs and graduate teaching assistants, communal areas with desks for students and rooms for seminars and smaller events will be provided. Refurbishments and modifications needed to ensure compliance with the university's requirements and with building regulations will presumably begin in October 2020 and be completed by October 2021. Once done, the university will be able to move into the new premises. Leasing additional premises will allow us to meet spatial requirements within the scope of the SKILL.de research project and accommodate the new degree programmes in digitalisation. The two bachelor's programmes 'Legal Tech' and 'Digital Transformation in Business and Society' are due to start in the winter semester. Approximately 1,500 square metres of additional space will be leased at Dr.-Hans-Kapfinger-Straße 6 at the end of 2021. Structurally, these premises will primarily accommodate offices and seminar rooms.
Dr Achim Dilling was interviewed by Anja Schuster. Are you unable to visit the exhibition showcasing the finalists of the architectural design competition? We went to see the exhibition on your behalf and have put together a picture gallery for you with all the outstanding designs.