Thomas Hörmann


Styria 2016

In the Austrian province of Styria, ongoing suburbanization has eliminated the majority of retail and service areas lining former central squares or main streets in the older civic cores of rural communities. Numerous big box developments—shopping centers, specialized markets, fast food restaurants, supermarkets, and building centers—populate the outskirts of the cities and the adjacent motorways. Although the single-family home is only very rarely a small villa standing alone in the countryside, the consequence of these private utopias is an immense consumption of landscape, rising infrastructure maintenance costs, and ever louder lamentation over the ugliness of the generic agglomeration landscape. This thesis project looks at the case of specialist retail centers and con- sumer agglomerations, speculating on an architectural form that gives shape to a new mode of centrality in the peripheral-rural space. The project layers peripheral consumer functions to create a landmark, one that also builds cultural identity by adding public and communal functions. The architectural object is designed as an open shelf, using the standardized construction of the retail centers and the ubiquitous element of parking lots as the basis for a generic floor plan. Through the consideration and analysis of social developments, selected reference projects, and site-specific parameters, different design aspects are developed and written as layers in the floor plans. The design becomes the background—a neutral stage set and replicator of civic life that is able to rediscover lost functions of the traditional marketplace and reflect possibilities of reconciling current consumerist trends with an appropriate public identity in the landscape.

Graz Architecture Diploma Awards 2017

@counterintuitive_typologies #austria #styria #sprawl #suburban #retailbox #stripmall #speculation #stacking #commercialtower #publicland- mark #megastructure #multiuse

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