Foundation stone for mozarteum university at Kurgarten

UMAK - Universität Mozarteum am Kurgarten | © Berger+Parkkinen

With the new building of the Mozarteum University at the Kurgarten (UMAK), the city of Salzburg, the cultural area around the Mirabell Gardens and the Paracelsus Baths get a new player and neighbor. The official laying of the foundation stone on February 27, 2023 at 11 a.m. initiated the implementation of a future-oriented project that invests in the university education and research location Salzburg, in the networking of science and art and in Salzburg's core competence 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 music 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 at the UMAK.

"By establishing the new mozarteum university at the Kurgarten (UMAK), we are creating space for the expansion of networking between science and art. In particular, with the establishment of the multimedia and digitization laboratory, the necessary modern framework conditions are created to sustainably and successfully continue the path taken by the mozarteum university of establishing and expanding 'Digital Media Competence'. At the same time, this will ensure a necessary expansion of space, especially in the areas of singing, opera and music theater, and provide students with additional practice rooms. I am confident that with this new building, the Mozarteum will be able to further expand and build on its position among the top European art universities." Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Martin Polaschek, Federal Minister for Education, Science and Research.

The total budget is 22.3 million euros. The largest part of this is borne by the federal government with 15.4 million euros, while the state of Salzburg contributes 3.7 million euros. This state contribution is made up 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 new building of the mozarteum university at the Kurgarten (UMAK) is a clear commitment of the state for a future-oriented science and research location Salzburg. Particularly gratifying is the establishment of the X-Reality-Lab as a unique multimedia laboratory in Austria, which further sharpens our profile in the field of digitization parallel to the Faculty of Digital and Analytical Sciences at the University of Salzburg. Under the award-winning direction of Berger+Parkkinen, this lighthouse project will certainly become a significant part of the architectural DNA of our provincial capital," says Governor Dr. Wilfried Haslauer.

As the future owner of the building, the mozarteum university will also act as developer, while the land itself will be made available by the City of Salzburg at a favorable building lease rate. With the intended certification "Building Standard klimaaktiv", the mozarteum university is focusing on a sustainable, future-proof and climate-neutral building. Studies are scheduled to begin in the fall of 2025.

Architecture & Location
The UMAK is part of an urban design that strives both to interweave the heterogeneous structures from the Baroque, Wilhelminian and 20th centuries and to mediate between the spa garden 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 conjunction with the streams of visitors to the bath and spa house, should bring about a sustainable revitalization of the northwestern area in the Kurgarten.

"With the laying of the foundation stone for the project for the mozarteum university at the Kurgarten, we are jointly bringing one of the flagship projects of the city of Salzburg in recent years into the home straight. The Paracelsusbad by the architectural firm Berger+Parkkinen has already received a great deal of international attention. I am delighted that the remaining part of this project is now being completed. It is particularly important for the city of Salzburg to set a double accent with the new building for the mozarteum university: We strengthen Salzburg as a university location and we underpin our core competence in the cultural sector." Mayor Dipl.-Ing. Harald Preuner


The interior
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. 

The facade
To emphasize the ensemble effect with the Paracelsus Bad, 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. 

In spite of complex technical requirements for the building, attention was paid during the planning phase to sustainable flexibility in the use of the building in order 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.