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Resilient Urban In[ter]ventions

Updated: May 19

In times of planetary crises, architecture needs to be approached as a component of the urban ecosystem. The intricate relationship between architecture and the city is a transscalar design task, interwoven within and beyond various natural, cultural, and built systems that enable human settlements. Architecture needs to invent and intervene, developing comprehensive solutions for the pressing challenges urban landscapes face collectively.
This design studio focuses on climate resilience in the built environment. In collaboration with the City of Innsbruck, students tackle the alpine-urban condition that forms the natural, cultural and built context. Working in teams, students collaboratively engage the urban climate through critical architectural interventions. The goals for each team include designing tangible, climate-fit solutions, working closely with an interdisciplinary team of instructors from various universities. 
After identifying a specific site, students explore, analyze, and synthesize assets and challenges to develop concrete design strategies and actions. They apply global frameworks for urban sustainability and engage the urban fabric on the human-built interface of everyday life.

Instructors: Oswald Jenewein, Yannick Back, Daniel Klausner, Vasileios Chanis, Dan Baciu



Merging Blue and Green Infrastructure.

Peter Huynh, Luisa Cuevas, Hannah Tscholl, Stephanie Windandy

The implementation of a bay in the Inn River is a step forward towards sustainable urban design to reduce urban heat. Through a network of underground pipes linked to the bay, water is repurposed to serve multiple functions: irrigating the vegetation and trees encircling plazas and supplying water for splash pads, thus combating urban heat. This circular system exemplifies efficient resource utilization and environmental stewardship. The irrigated vegetation plays a pivotal role in temperature regulation by casting shade and releasing moisture through transpiration. Consequently, both surface and air temperatures are reduced, fostering a more comfortable and habitable urban environment. Moreover, the bay serves as a frontline defense against urban heat, acting as a natural coolant for the surrounding area. By moderating the river's flow, the bay effectively slows down currents, transforming it into a tranquil recreational pool. This multifunctional approach not only enhances the city's resilience to climate change but also fosters community well-being by providing spaces for leisure and recreation. In essence, the bay represents a harmonious integration of nature and urban infrastructure, symbolizing progress towards a more sustainable and livable cityscape in Innsbruck.



Bridging Community, Beauty, and Sustainable Materials.

Shefa Ullah, Mariam Munira, Grace Woodall

Global Strategies toward sustainable urban environments and resiliences guide projects across scales to achieve a more environmentally balanced and climate-fit life cycle. In this project, we particularly focused on the principles provided by the New European Bauhaus to ensure the new Markthalle and the adjacent plaza meet the ecological challenges of tomorrow. Focusing on the New European Bauhaus initiative is about principles and a shared vision. It emphasizes integrating beauty, sustainability, and inclusivity in architectural design and urban development. By fostering interdisciplinary collaboration and engaging communities in the design process, the New European Bauhaus invites us all to be part of a movement that creates more vibrant, resilient, and equitable spaces. The "Gabled Passage" project encompasses the ideals by emphasizing sustainability, beauty, and community. Sustainability is demonstrated by its focus on local and recycled materials. Beauty is demonstrated by its streamlined design of simple geometry and its gable to the axial solid path. Community is demonstrated by equitable housing and gathering spaces. These ideals are of the New European Bauhaus.



The Alley as a Climate-fit Concept.

Anna Nemeth, Garrett Owens, Jesus Godinez

For our design concept we chose a geometric growth pattern to facilitate multiple site requirements such as a new markthall, martplatz, and pedestrian bridge. We utilized the Voronoi geometric pattern to establish cells for our “disruptions”. We divided the Marthalle into smaller buildings, thus “disrupting” the previous flow and creating alleyways that serve a climate fit purpose. The divided buildings create further pathways for the individual to explore, which paired with the structures’ glass and wood exterior results in an open, inviting space. The Voronoi pattern is essentially a partitioning of a plane into regions based on the distance to a specific set of points. These regions are called Voronoi cells, and each cell corresponds to one of the input points. The boundary of each cell consists of all the points in the plane that are closer to that input point than to any other. To make our project sustainable, we mainly designed with green materials such as timber and photovoltaic glass. The Marktplatz consist of smaller green “islands”, paired with seating areas and splash pads, strategically designed to mitigate the urban heat island effect. These sustainable elements not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also fosters an environmentally-responsible urban environment.



Hybridizing Urban Landscapes.

Martin Briones, Maxwell Dunne, Jun Ni

In the context of plaza development, the integration of green roofs and vertical gardens requires meticulous planning, structural assessment, and ongoing maintenance. Beyond their environmental and functional benefits, green roofs and vertical gardens serve as educational tools and community focal points within plazas. Interpretive signage, guided tours, and educational programs can raise awareness about sustainable urban practices and inspire stewardship among residents and visitors. Moreover, these green spaces foster social cohesion and interaction, providing opportunities for recreation, relaxation, and contemplation in the heart of the city. In conclusion, the integration of green roofs and vertical gardens in plaza environments represents a proactive approach to urban design that prioritizes sustainability, resilience, and human well-being. By embracing these green interventions, cities can cultivate healthier, more vibrant urban landscapes that enrich the lives of current and future generations. And improve upon the existing marketplace in both visual as well as environmental aspects to create an improved, more sustainable future.



From Smart Modules to Smart Cities.

Linus Gerold, Abigail Garcia, Luke Schweickhardt

A smart city utilizes Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to collect data from various sources such as citizens' devices, sensor networks, traffic, and other systems. The objective is to enhance residents' quality of life by integrating technology and data-driven solutions across different urban domains, including transportation, energy, healthcare, waste management, and public safety. Sensors play a crucial role in providing site-specific information to smart systems, enabling the implementation of strategies to reduce energy consumption, minimize water waste, and improve temperature regulation. This project aims to utilize roofs as an adaptive architectural element that is capable of serving multiple functions, informed by sensor data. These functions include shading, stairways, seating areas, balconies, bridges, splash pads, and market stands, contributing to the sustainability and resilience of urban ecosystems. Additionally, on a social scale, strategies such as smart homes, environmental monitoring apps, and water recycling can be implemented to benefit both the community and architecture.



From Smart Modules to Smart Cities.

Zack Husbands, Julia Ljubisavlijevic, Sarah Zuber

Climate change is increasingly causing various types of hazards in the urban environment. To ensure that the “Markt Viertel” is ready to tackle severe climate change impacts and associated hazards, this design provides a permanently accessible, weather-protected arcade. The topology of the arcade was chosen due to its historical significance in the city’s old town center and is intended to serve as a refuge for people from the sun in times of extreme heat, from rain during periods of heavy rainfall, and from wind and ice in winter, which make urban spaces uncomfortable to use. The concept for the district plans for the market hall not only to serve as a cultural and social hub but also as living space for students. These dual functions of the market hall foster a vibrant and youthful community at the heart of the district. Integrating student dormitories into the market hall injects dynamic energy into the area, enriches the social fabric, and ensures that the quarter is lively around the clock. The comprehensive redesign of the market hall also supports sustainability principles. Local, environmentally friendly materials are used, while advanced smart technologies and passive heating and cooling systems minimize energy consumption. These technical innovations ensure a comfortable living climate in the dormitories and contribute to the ecological responsibility of the district. Furthermore, the de-sealing of surfaces improves the quarter’s climate resilience. Green spaces and natural waterways are integrated to harmoniously connect urban life with nature while simultaneously promoting the well-being of residents. Flexible usage concepts for the marketplace and barrier-free design enhance the quality of life and ensure an accessible, inclusive environment. This careful mix of historical respect, modern adaptability, and vibrant community makes the Marked Viertel an exemplary urban space that not only withstands the challenges of climate change but also ensures a high quality of life for its residents.



Interweaving People, City + Nature.

Jocelyne Davennys, Marvin van Koll, Oliver Piers

Nature-based solutions are becoming increasingly important for sustainable and resilient architectural and urban design. In Innsbruck, rethinking the materiality and weight of city surfaces through new technologies is imperative, especially when it comes to urban heat islands like the Marktplatz. Already a social and cultural hub, the space can be enhanced as pedestrian-friendly, integrating nature from interior to exterior and across the river. A new pedestrian bridge and redirected cycle path pedestrianize the area, fostering a dialogue between natural and urban elements. The redesigned Markthalle incorporates passive, nature-based strategies like misting for heat reduction and a tactile cross-laminated timber façade. The core of the proposition is our net-network from which the project derives its name. We propose a lightweight, three-dimensional public space, bringing a new user experience to residents, tourists, and students alike to provide an innovative space. The ethos of the Marktplatz is expanded and taken vertically, even over the Inn. Efforts to repurpose materials ensure ecological resilience in the development. Proposed solutions, including permeable ground surfaces, aim to cool the plaza without altering its aura, making it accessible for all and improving biodiversity.


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