Counterintuitive Typologies

Research and teaching focus on infill and adaptive reuse of commercial building stock 

Counterintuitive Typologies is the title of Andreas’ research and teaching focus in supervised master’s theses, in design studios and a three-year research project for which the government funding has just been awarded: Counterintuitve Building Typologies – CBT 2022-2025 – has just been granted! ︎︎︎See the announcement on the homepage of the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) - acronym CBT


Countless retail and commercial properties have been built primarily on greenfield sites and connected to motorized private transport in recent decades: The research project "Counterintuitive Building Types" investigates whether these considerable material and infrastructural resources of commercial properties - more than 13 million squaremetres of retail space  in Austria - could also be developed in a more ecologically and economically sustainable way, not least because stationary retail is continuously losing economic traction (furthermore fueled by the pandemic). Could a conversion and further development of these building stocks integrate more circular economy approaches? Even if for most of these sealed mortgages of misguided spatial and municipal planning only demolition, recycling and renaturation seem reasonable, this project shows the ecological and economical potentials of selected properties that build on the material existing resources and their high-quality infrastructure connections and innovatively – and function wise counterintuitively – rebuild them towards more sustainably positive energy, use, life cycle and social balances. On the basis of five real properties, case studies will be elaborated that achieve a more efficient spatial utilization of the existing space and resources through multiplication of use. The research project will show infill and "redensification possibilities" of retail areas and provide both spatial planning indicators relevant for municipalities and state policy as well as technical-economic and design-functional data in the area of costs, energy and sustainability relevant for development and operation.

Lead: Andreas Lechner
Main researcher & doctoral candidate: Maike Gold
Institute for Design and Building Typology (TU Graz)
Institute of Structural Design (TU Graz)  
Working Group Sustainability Assessment (TU Graz)
Institute of Spatial Planning, Environmental Planning and Land Rearrangement (BOKU Vienna) 
WMV Immobilien AG

Fig.: 144 projects from Thinking Design - Blueprint for an Architecture of Typology

Counterintuitive Typologies is also the title of an enclosed booklet with 12 supervised Master’s theses that is published as a supplement to Andreas’ book Thinking Design: Blueprint for an Architecture of Typology. The theses envision architecture’s role as civic infrastructure and cultural agency. 

︎︎︎ More information on master’s theses
︎︎︎ Counterintuititve Typologies – Design Studios ︎  


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