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Adaptive Typologies

Updated: May 19

Adaptive Typologies focuses on climate resilience of the built environment on the architectural object scale. In Adaptive Typologies, students explore architectural objects, their characteristics, and their performative aspects as integrated components of the urban ecosystem. Students analyze, transform, and develop hybrid typologies merging physical, digital, and biological concepts and apply a digital mixed-methods approach, utilizing analytical, representational, and generative tools.

Instructors: Oswald Jenewein and Ian Gillis



[Re]Building Cultural Landscapes in the Alps.

Olivia Olivieri, Anna Braun, Pascal Vorauer

Our typologies coexist in a mountain region rich with natural spaces. The traditional ski hotel, popular among winter tourists, is essential to the ski tradition. These hotels depend heavily on natural conditions, thriving on snowfall and alpine landscapes. This model has not only provided a picturesque backdrop for winter sports enthusiasts but also sustained local economies reliant on seasonal tourism. The image of skiers on snowy slopes beside traditional hotels evokes a time when snow was plentiful and environmental impact was minimal. The presence of healthy trees alongside those infested by bark beetles symbolizes broader environmental challenges. Warmer temperatures allow bark beetles to thrive, attacking healthy trees and reflecting the wider ecological impacts of climate change, affecting both the environment and human activities. Moving forward, ski hotels are evolving to address climate change. Integrating solar panels, wind turbines, and energy-efficient snow cannons, they reduce carbon footprints and adapt to decreasing snowfall. These measures ensure the sustainability of ski resorts, maintaining their viability while addressing global warming. Reforestation efforts aim to combat bark beetle infestations, balancing environmental health with space for skiing activities.



Sheltering Amidst Rising Temperatures and Tourism.

Mariam Munira, Rico Lauterer, Grace Woodall

In the heart of the Alps, foxes create intricate burrows for protection, while hikers explore the trails above. This balance between wildlife resilience and human exploration is delicate. Climate change, with rising temperatures and prolonged summers, forces foxes to dig deeper. Meanwhile, summer tourism thrives, drawing adventurers to thousands of trails, but also posing challenges of human encroachment.
Hiking trails symbolize humanity’s connection to nature, offering introspection and discovery. As the ecosystem's fragility becomes clear, the tourism industry faces a dual narrative of growth and sustainability. Innovative measures like weather sensors, professional guides, and protection huts enhance hiker safety and preserve the Alps' beauty for future generations. Protection huts, crucial in unpredictable weather, offer refuge but may disturb the natural environment and wildlife, like foxes. Harmonizing wildlife adaptation, tourism management, and shelter innovation is essential. Through mindful planning and responsible practices, the wonder of the Alps can endure, allowing future generations to explore and connect with nature.



Dancing Sparrows in the Rain.

Anne Gerritsen, Garrett Owens, Max Dunne

The Alpine region's natural environment provides a habitat for the sparrow hawk, indicative of a healthy ecosystem. Alpine culture includes Schuhplatteln, a traditional dance performed at cultural events, attracting tourists and showcasing skills. The dance, accompanied by music and drinks, is deeply rooted in Alpine culture. Stone harvesting in quarries supports the local economy, but also alters the landscape. Climate change threatens this delicate balance, impacting both environment and culture. Deforestation disrupts the sparrow hawk's habitat, leading to its adaptation in alternative nesting sites like Schuhplatteln venues. Increasing temperatures, snowmelt, and intensified rainy seasons lead to flooding, affecting the dance areas. To counter erosion, sandbags are installed, impacting cultural practices. Climate change also transforms Schuhplatteln, opening the activity to women. Quarry over-extraction, exacerbated by climate change, leaves abandoned quarries prone to flooding, gradually transforming them into lakes and altering the Alpine landscape and ecosystem.



The Anthill and the House of Synthetic Cheese.

Alessio Trucios, Jocelyne Davenneys, Bennedickt Harzer

What do cheese, ants, and Wirthauses have in common? Though seemingly unrelated, they are intricately connected through their reliance on Earth’s resources. Ants, nature’s diligent cleaners and master architects, build intricate colonies that serve as their homes and social hubs, deeply tied to the land they inhabit. Cheese, a cherished culinary delight, links to ants through cows and sheep that graze on pastures dependent on fertile soil and favorable environmental conditions. Any disruption to this ecosystem impacts cheese production, affecting its quality and availability. Wirthauses, bastions of German culinary tradition and hospitality, also rely on Earth’s resources. From the ingredients in their dishes to the ambiance created by natural elements, their connection to the Earth is evident. Climate change can disrupt the availability of fresh, locally sourced ingredients, impacting both cuisine authenticity and cultural traditions. This web of interconnection highlights our reliance on the planet’s resources. Climate change threatens this balance, jeopardizing ecosystems, food production, and cultural heritage. As stewards of the Earth, we must act decisively to mitigate climate change impacts through sustainable practices, conservation efforts, and technological innovation, ensuring a prosperous future for generations to come.



Singing in the Alpine Bunker.

Arthur Schwarz, Jesus Godinez, Helena Fernsebner

The Alps play a crucial role in our typologies: marmots construct extensive tunnels, volksmusic holds deep cultural significance, and historical bunkers remain in the landscape. Marmots, with their intricate tunnel networks, symbolize the mountain ecosystem, hibernating and raising their young underground. Historical bunkers, once used for defense, are now protected monuments or repurposed structures. Folk music, traditionally practiced in families and associations, draws tourists annually, showcasing the region’s rich cultural heritage. Climate change poses severe threats to wildlife and humans, with extreme weather events becoming more common. Growing tourism increases the demand for volksmusic events while reducing space for human-nature interactions. This coexistence faces significant changes due to rising temperatures, which may decrease marmot populations as they stay underground longer, reducing foraging time. Alpine huts must be renovated to withstand changing weather. Bunkers could serve as refuges against extreme weather for both people and animals, preserving the alpine environment. Protecting marmots from extinction and optimizing the coexistence of these elements will maintain the Alps’ historical and cultural legacy amidst climate challenges.


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