EPISCOPAL CENTRE FOR EDUCATION AND VOCATION AND NEW BUILDING SPORTING COMPLEX Graz


Client: Diözese Graz-Seckau, Graz
Location: Lange Gasse 2, A-8010 Graz
Start of construction: 04/2008
Completion: 09/2009 Total area main building: 27.098 m²
Total area sporting complex: 1.845 m²
Built-in area main building: 92.000 m³
Built-in area sporting complex: 15.800 m³
Cost main building: 11,3 Mio Euro
Cost sporting complex: 3,2 Mio Euro

The size, the history and the living tradition, which combine in this mighty building located close to the city centre, commands respect. One only becomes aware of the physical dimensions when walking through the structure; a single tour covers around 400 m and extends over four levels and three inner courtyards.
It reminds one of the stories in German literature about educational facilities. The objective during discussions with the client and the users was: openness, illumination, expansiveness, flexibility and orientation toward the future. Such an imposing building requires a fitting “building zone”, which means a spacious entrance hall, bright and colourful development, as well as meeting zones for different purposes on all levels.
Opening up of the smooth courtyard facades, a stepping out from the old to the front of the façade, transparency toward all sides in the “cubes”. A dining hall with glass walkway and open “Café” toward “Lindenhof” Reinforcing the interaction between interior and exterior. “Freeing up” the church again in the structure. Creating a “church square” with open options for utilization, to offer a place for gathering, congregating, performances and much more.
Improvement of the basement level with work rooms, waiting rooms, fitness area with subterranean walkway to the new standardized triple gymnasium. The hall has been lowered by 3.5 m in comparison to the school yard to blend in with the existing structures in Lange Gasse (Biedermeier suburban houses) and the main building with regard to scale.
The open glass facade to the park and the encircling skylight lend the hall, together with the wood panelling, a bright, warm and friendly character. The relocation of the boarding school and the living quarters for priests and students away from the noisy side of Grabenstrasse to the quiet park side meant a massive yet absolutely necessary structural intervention.
The results now are spacious areas, some fitted out with galleries with adjacent common rooms, which additionally offer the young people private zones and areas for retreating.