On 7 December 2018, the US American artist Mark Dion won BIG’s Kunst & Bau competition for the new Biologiezentrum of the University of Vienna.
The judges explained their decision as follows:
“Mark Dion’s design involves the installation of a vivarium, a kind of exhibition terrarium in the foyer area, into which he will transfer a tree trunk that had to be uprooted from the site of the St. Marx Biologiezentrum during the construction of the new building. The glass structure is adapted to the proportions of the tree and the architecture. This makes it possible to observe the tree’s slow decomposition and transmutation process, which is extremely retarded due to the unchanging climatic conditions. The installation tells a story that relates to biology, the university and the location on several levels and at the same time points to the future. What impressed us was the concept’s complexity: the idea of decay and becoming, the representation of the cycle of nature on different levels. The artist creates a special (dead, yet at the same time living) object that is in a constant state of biological transformation, thereby becoming a symbol of both life and decay.”