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GRZ Group Co-operative IT Centre
Client: GRZ Linz
Location: Linz 1978 - 1980
Programmatic since 1978
Group Co-operative IT Centre

It is very satisfying when projects developed ages ago are still regarded as good and pioneering. The GRZ was designed on purely pragmatic considerations: to combine a technical infrastructure, cumbersome by modern standards, with functional workplaces.

The GRZ project was the winner of a competition in 1978. Clients´ commodity brokerage and monetary transactions were to be concentrated in one data processing centre.

Concept
The centre originally stood alone, with no other buildings near, so the best solution seemed to be a self-contained structure facing in no particular direction. The greatest challenge was that of implementing the completely new technology – this applied not only to data processing, but to the entire building. For the first time, double floor systems were used for cable installation. Kaufmann / Partner designed all the furnishings, custom-built by a cabinet-maker, to provide a tidy solution to the problem of wiring up the workplaces.

The design comprises a double-row office block in the form of a cross, with terraced wings and a central foyer where the staircases and lifts are installed diagonally. This concept provides clear and transparent circulation through the individual zones of the building. Particularly in the ground floor and cellar, the top priority is functionality. The cellar contains storerooms and all the energy security systems: uninterruptible power supply, battery installations and emergency generators. The ground floor was organised according to the requirements of a data processing centre at that time. Production and systems, a printing room, an immense paper store and the customer area were arranged for smooth running.

The heart of the building, the data processing centre, is adapted to the climatic challenges of a large-scale computing centre. The rest of the building is of course air-conditioned. The workrooms are open-plan offices, given additional transparency by glass doors.

Postscript
Ten years after the building was completed, Wolfgang Kaufmann was present at a meeting where the firm of Lampertz – world market leader in physical data and hardware protection – presented the GRZ as a prime example of a successful data processing centre. He was not a little astonished, but evidently the 1978 building had anticipated many of the developments in the modern administrative building which were not foreseeable at the time.

Photos: Dietmar Tollerian, Kaufmann|Partner
Text: Norbert Tomasi