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Transitory Meaning

The tools we use to describe spaces in architecture are very much focused on materiality and form. Rarely do we give meaning to the context in which architectural elements are placed and the stories that are inscribed in them as a result. Especially when it comes to recycling materials and reusing parts of buildings, new questions arise in this regard. The context from which the elements originate and the new context in which they are placed are influenced by logistical, economic and business factors. In the seminar Transitory Meaning we want to explore how we deal with the historical, cultural and intellectual layers and what means of analysis and communication we can develop. We find the reuse of parts already in antiquity, where spolia was used as a practical way of dealing with raw materials that were difficult to access or work with. However, the use of spolia did not only have functional reasons, but also deliberately served as a demonstration of power. In the seminar Transitory Meaning at the Leibniz University Hanover, students research this topic and turn their ideas into a short video format.


Through the cultural practice of copying, sampling, mixing, recoding and sharing, memes become assemblages of cultural expression, and while much of our social activity has moved into virtual spheres, memes have become one of the most creative and vibrant forms of digital communication. They are not detached from social relations, but reflect them in many ways. Social conditions are often made visible through memetic output. Memes elaborate on culturally pre-formed things and content. With intertextuality as a basic principle, new meanings and cross-references are assembled, layered, superimposed and rearranged again and again. Memes are tools not only to make realities visible, but also to expand them. In the seminar I am a meme at the Leopold-Franzens-University in Innbruck, students adopted the principles of meme culture as a method of transforming iconographic architectural realities in order to approach internet culture with speculative design.

with Anna Pompermaier, Christian Dummer, Dominic Schwab, Ursula Pfligersdorffer, Uwe Brunner

Rearrange Form

Methods for designing with existing material parts contribute to a more sustainable architecture. For this to happen, the conventional form-finding process needs to be reconsidered. The construction industry is responsible for a large amount of waste. There is great potential in the avoidance of short-lived materials and recycling methods, but also in the reuse of entire building elements. Many components that are disposed of during demolition or reconstruction can actually be reused. Using these existing components in new projects reduces the amount of primary resources needed. New 3D scanning techniques allow us to capture and evaluate objects and thus integrate them into digital design methods. Shape, material and surface of a construction component can be documented, but also the quality and composition of the materials can be determined. Students investigated the potential of this method on a small scale. Using an existing material, we will create digital models, test new compounds on the physical object and develop a new experimental design.

Atmosphere and Effect

The seminar deals with the notion that our perception of space is as much influenced by material properties as it is by immaterial phenomena directly linked to our physical understanding of the world. Architecture places a great deal of attention on the static qualities of the built environment. Much less focus is placed on dynamic and often ephemeral forces that shape the way we understand space. Shifts and variations in the quality of light, sound or scent, elicit particular responses that have a direct effect on our experience. We register and respond to spatial conditions by negotiating a wide range of sensory perceptions. The seminar Atmosphere and Effect at the University of Applied Arts Vienna (die Angewandte) asks: can we find ways to analyse, represent, and ultimately reproduce the immaterial as a way to come to a fuller understanding of the production of space?

with Gregorio Lubroth

Bits and Bites

Materializing throught Bits and Bytes is workshop about understanding digital design and fabrication processes. The workshop gives an overview of new possibilities that occur through new technologies and shows practical examples and applications. The participants are encouraged to bring an object of everyday use of their choice. These objects create the base for an interactive discussion with the group about materials, shape finding, digitalizing of form, fabrication tools and methods.

with Daniela Kröhnert

Explore, Experiment, Execute

Architecture is determined at first glance by its physical properties. Similarly, the representation in the form of plans, sections and details are abstract descriptions of a tangible design. These ways of describing architecture are notations for which a set of rules has been developed and agreed upon. However, the seminar is not concerned with the diversity of these well-known notations, but rather with the content of these themselves. To what extent do certain established types of representations have an influence on our design process? Are there other characteristics besides the physical conditions that spaces exhibit that should be brought into focus? The participants developed experimental notation systems and produced a large-scale drawing on paper. Detached from a concrete architectural design, the seminar is primarily about raising awareness of the topic so that participants can incorporate their reflections into future projects.

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