Visitors to Austria’s capital of Vienna might notice the traffic lights at several pedestrian crosswalks look a little different, as the city readies itself to host the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest championships later this month.
Architecture and design always look to expand the limits of convention. Recently, buildings have pushed the boundaries of strange and unconventional; some even seem to defy physics and safety, such as the proposed Dynamic Tower in Dubai and the 1004 foot Cayan Tower, which is the world’s tallest tower with a 90 degree twist, also in Dubai. Vienna will join of the ranks of cities with bizarre and futuristic architecture with the Turm mit Taille building, which translates literally into “tower with a waist,” according to Wired. It will be built in the Simmering district next to the famous Gasometers, four former gas tanks that are now used for residential and commercial purposes.
While American libraries are facing tough budget cuts and struggling to stay open, our European cousins are stepping up and investing in 21st century learning spaces that are both visually inspiring and multifunctional.
Beijing-based architect Chris Precht's design for an extension of the Austrian National Library seamlessly connects learning with the social way people spend their time—shopping, eating out, and engaging in cultural activities. The library collection—which is currently housed in a 276-year-old section of Vienna's Hofburg Palace—will be located in an underground exhibition hall. The rest of the space will house creative studios, a multipurpose space, a restaurant, and retail stores.