IKEA Austria has announced plans to open the world’s “most innovative and green” IKEA store — a car-free, BREEAM Excellent-targeted, mixed-use complex located in the heart of Vienna. Dubbed IKEA Westbahnhof, the ambitious store will be modeled after a public square to not only attract IKEA shoppers but also local residents and tourists with its many amenities and abundance of green space that will include approximately 160 trees planted atop the building. The ambitious project was designed in collaboration with Vienna-based architectural firm querkraft architekten

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rendering of trees growing on each level of a large IKEA store building

Located at the end of the major shopping street Mariahilferstrasse, about 3 kilometers from the historic city center, IKEA Westbahnhof will be easily accessible by public transit. The shift to a car-free IKEA location was partly born from research on consumer behavior, which points to the increase of e-commerce and convenience of home delivery. Approximately two-thirds of residents in Vienna’s inner city districts do not own a car and instead prefer to take public transit, walk, bike or use a scooter to reach their destinations.

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rendering of many stacked bike racks in front of a huge white IKEA store building

In addition to its car-free concept, IKEA Westbahnhof will target BREEAM Excellent certification with sustainable materials, energy-saving systems and an abundance of greenery, such as the publicly accessible roof garden, which will help mitigate the urban heat island effect. The architects plan to plant 160 trees atop the building to help lower the temperature of the structure by at least two degrees.

rendering of people walking outside a giant IKEA building covered in plants

“The new store aims to be an iconic meeting place in Vienna,” IKEA’s press release stated. “IKEA Vienna Westbahnhof is going to be the most unique and green IKEA store. It will be inviting, human scale and standing out as a landmark.” Likened to a bookshelf, the multistory building uses a flexible, grid-like system that emphasizes transparency and openness. IKEA will occupy the first four floors of the building, while a hostel will be located on the upper two floors. Four additional retail shops will be placed along Mariahilferstrasse.

+ querkraft architekten

Images via IKEA