The MuseumsQuartier in Vienna is a place for culture and encounters. The MQ Libelle on the roof of the Leopold Museum is another architectural milestone. The ornate pavilion and terrace offering sensational views of the historic surroundings also benefit from professional waterproofing using BMI Villas’ wide range of products.
This multi-level terraced landscape provides a simply enchanting view of the local area. To the left is the site of the MuseumsQuartier (MQ) with its inner courtyard, lively in summer, the Kunsthalle and the mumok (Museum of Modern Art). From the middle, you can see the Museum of Natural History, and to the right the Museum of Art History. And just a little further behind is the imperial Hofburg palace.
But the MQ Libelle on the roof of the Leopold Museum isn’t just a terrace for visitors which is freely accessible until the early hours of the morning and is also home to a kiosk. Outstanding works of art are combined here, too. First and foremost, there’s Ortner Baukunst, the eponymous iconic building by architects OrtnerSc.
“The new pavilion floats like a dragonfly - a Libelle - with its wings above the stone cube of the Leopold Museum,” according to the architects.
“The pavilion provides space for events and presentations. Like a city salon in splendid form, the MQ Libelle encourages the exchange of opinions and ideas.”
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Millions of shimmering white dots
The façade of the pavilion is another artistic highlight, designed by artist Eva Schlegel under the title “veiled”.
“2.4 million dots form the shimmering envelope of the façade of the MQ Libelle at the Leopold Museum, protecting it from the sun like a silk cloth, laid in soft folds,” Schlegel explains. “And yet the glass pavilion remains light and transparent, allowing people to gaze across the city.
From the outside, the hand-sized, pointed glass cones cover the façade and give the MQ Libelle its glittering, fortified look.”
No less a highlight are the three “circles of light” by Brigitte Kowanz, “which form a sculptural light environment, an atmospheric landscape above the rooftops of Vienna”, according to the artist. “Mounted on inclined supports, they appear to float above the terrace,” Ortner & Ortner add. “The shape, size and arrangement are based on the ground plan of the Libelle, which is inscribed with three circles. The circles of light look different by day and by night. The sculptural side comes to the fore during the daytime.”
Varied roofing and waterproofing solutions
BMI was also responsible for ensuring that the structural safety and comfort standards for this ensemble of impressive works of art, and for the Leopold Museum below, were met: for the extensive waterproofing for all three terrace levels, for the top roof deck on the pavilion, or for the flat roof above the staircase. Vertical waterproofing also had to be implemented.
Both non-ventilated flat roofs and inverted roofs were used to meet the diverse architectural requirements, some using bitumen sheets with a granulated slate surface as the top layer. The renovation of the existing flat roof on the Leopold Museum also took place around the construction work on the MQ Libelle, which represents the first major expansion of the MuseumsQuartier site since it opened in 2001.
Wide range of products from BMI Villas
A wide range of BMI Villas quality products were used to ensure that all roofing and waterproofing solutions were of the highest standard. The bituminous primer used for all of the areas referred to above is Villas Emulbit, a solvent-free and therefore very eco-friendly emulsion. Villas Elastovill ALGV-45 E was used as the vapour barrier membrane on top. This is finely scattered on the top and laminated with a rapid welding film on the underside. The membrane consists of a glass fibre mat insert, an aluminium combination carrier and an elastomer bitumen coating on both sides.
Villaself SKB-Plus was also used as a higher quality vapour barrier. This cold self-adhesive elastomeric bitumen membrane with aluminium combination insert allows for clean, quick installation without flame on concrete and wood substrates. It is also extremely resistant to perforation.
Once again, Villas Elastovill E-KV-5 has proven to be one of the key and defining products at the MQ Libelle. This elastomeric bitumen membrane with polyester mat backing was laid in two layers on the main roof of the Leopold Museum, and as the top layer on the flat roof above the staircase in the version with the granulated slate surface. The cold self-adhesive polymer bitumen membrane Villaself E-4 SK-SI was used as the underlay for the latter: this has a safety seam with special joining technology for safe seam closure (CutLines).
Dolomite-grey granulated slate surface on the pavilion roof
Villatop DUO Dolomite Grey was used as a freely weathered top layer for the pavilion’s roof deck. The light scattering of slate reduces the surface temperature and thus the thermal ageing as well. The membrane also has a cold-applied flexible elastomeric bitumen cover compound underneath the carrier that compensates for movement and a particularly UV-resistant plastomer bitumen cover compound above the carrier. The underlay membrane on the pavilion roof is the cold self-adhesive polymer bitumen Villaself SU-SI (with safety seam).
Investment of 7.5 million euros in culture and experiences
The costs for the construction of the “MQ Libelle” totalled 7.5 million euros, half of which came from the MQ’s own funds. The other half will be covered by future rental income. The pavilion and the terrace facilities are rented out for events and are thus available for art and cultural projects as well.
Michael Ludwig, Mayor of Vienna, was extremely impressed at the opening of the MQ Libelle in summer 2020. “I am absolutely certain that this will be one of the top venues for events in our city before long. It is also a visible sign of a successful cooperation between the city and the federal authorities.”
This unique project in the middle of the city has also made quite an impression on MuseumsQuartier director Christian Strasser. “The view is pure magic. I invite you to be inspired by this unique atmosphere, and to see everything from a new perspective from the MQ Libelle!” There’s nothing more to add to that, except a friendly nod of agreement.