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Environment / Climate change

Bits keep falling off Zaha Hadid's Vienna Library

In the digital age, it’s no longer clear what libraries’ exact remit should be. But whether you think they should be WiFi hubs with lots of comfy chairs, or full of stacks of antiquarian books, one thing’s for sure: giant chunks of concrete should not, ideally, fall off them. 

Zaha Hadid, world-famous architect and designer of the library at the University of Economics in Vienna, may want to take heed. According to Austrian newspaper Die Priesse, an 80kg chunk of concrete fell off the building’s leaning facade last week. Luckily, no one was injured, but this isn’t the first time it’s happened: last year, another chunk of concrete fell to earth outside the building’s entrance. It’s not a great track record for a structure that only opened its doors in October 2013. 

Last time, the fault was put down to an “assembly error”, and contractors are currently investigating why it’s happened again. The building is still open, but the area around the leaning wall is cordoned off pending an investigation into the “soundness of the facade”. 

That said, the huge section of the building that juts out over thin air, remains intact. So it’s not all bad.

Image: Gugerell via Wikimedia Commons.

We’ve approached Hadid’s practice for comment but have yet to receive a reply.


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