Mozarteum University at the Kurgarten

Rendering Universität Mozarteum am Kurgarten | © Berger+Parkkinen

On February 27, 2023, the official laying of the foundation stone of the Mozarteum University at the Kurgarten (UMAK) took place. It marked the beginning of the implementation of a forward-looking project that invests in the university education and research location of Salzburg, in the networking of science and art, and in Salzburg's core competencies in the field of culture.

Designed and planned by the renowned architectural firm Berger+Parkkinen (Paracelsus Bad), over the next two years light-flooded teaching, ensemble and rehearsal rooms for singing, singing pedagogy and choral activities will be created on five levels and a floor space of 1895m2 at Schwarzstraße 36. An X-Reality Lab, the only one of its kind in Austria, will make it possible in the future to experiment with and produce expanded worlds of images, video and sound. In addition, an electronic studio for contemporary music composition and the Bach Choir Salzburg will find a home in the UMAK.

The total cost framework comprises 22.3 million euros. The largest part of this is borne by the federal government at 15.4 million euros, with the state of Salzburg contributing 3.7 million euros. This state amount consists of a state subsidy of 2.5 million euros, an amount for science and innovation strategy of 0.5 million euros, and shares for space for the Bach Choir in the amount of 0.7 million euros. The Mozarteum University will contribute 2.1 million of its own funds. The City of Salzburg and the Bach Choir Salzburg itself will jointly finance 1.1 million.

The UMAK is part of an urban design that strives both for an interweaving of the heterogeneous structures from the Baroque, Wilhelminian and 20th centuries and for mediation between the Kurgarten and the streets. To this end, the UMAK is divided into two structures that mediate in cascading height and size between the closed development on Auerspergstrasse and the open structure on Schwarzstrasse. Thanks to the clear, identity-creating architectural language, the UMAK, together with the Paracelsus Bad, will in future form a focal point at the historic core of the city of Salzburg: The design paid particular attention to the morphology of the spa garden with its former fortifications and the accentuation of open spaces. The student use in connection with the visitor flows of the bath and spa house should cause a sustainable revitalization of the northwestern area in the Kurgarten.

As a university building, the Mozarteum University at the Kurgarten will be open to the public and, with a small café, will also offer culinary delights. The interior design centerpiece of the building is a large atrium that will provide natural skylight. The mighty cantilever of the upper floors above the entrance area emphasizes the importance of the square in front and provides a view of the neighboring Paracelsus Bad & Kurhaus. The division of the building into two structures allows for rooms with special heights overall.

To emphasize the ensemble effect with the Paracelsus Baths, the facade system of the UMAK also consists of curtain-type ceramic facade panels. In contrast to the façade of the Paracelsus Baths, however, a closed, rear-ventilated ceramic façade is used for the UMAK. The development of this special facade is an expression of the predominantly musical use of the building, which is accompanied by specific requirements for daylight and sound insulation: Naturally lit individual rooms with window ventilation, halls with glazing, studios without daylight.

Despite complex technical requirements for the building, the planning focused on sustainable flexibility in the use of the building to allow for possible shifts in the use of the spaces in the long term. In addition, the pronounced compactness of the two structures with their favorable envelope area ratio supports the sustainability of the new building in thermal terms.