Luke Johnson, Juxtaposing a New Ground, Photo: L.Johnson

Peripheriestück - Critical Environments II


MArch Studio: Ecology Sustainability Conservation

Hannes Stiefel

Astonishing, how the earth wants to invert its body. Everywhere. That its inside becomes now inverted to its outside… One finds oneself in a hardly visible motion that just begun. (Marguerite Duras, in Le Camion, 1977)

An area at the most northern edge of Vienna. An arterial road cutting through meadows, fields, vineyards, grazes fragments of forests. Adjacent to the South, towards the city: urban sprawl. In the West: sloping terrain, a shooting range and vineyards, furrowed by deeply intended canyons with its cave like cellars.  At the foot of the slope a vine village. Northwards: agricultural areas with the bumps of former defensive fortifications, natural monuments today. In the East: open land with cavities of former mining. Exposed landscape and rinsed loess formations.

Due to the current and predicted rapid growth of Vienna, the city has dedicated the site as area with “development potential for housing and working”. The designated clash of urban and rural cultures qualifies the area as a type of critical environment.

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Peripheriestück - Critical Environments II


MArch Studio: Ecology Sustainability Conservation

Hannes Stiefel

The ubiquitous appearance of this phenomenon shall not belie its unbalanced foundation and its problematic effects. Yet instable grounds and trembling surroundings offer potentialities for new or other forms of and for architectural interventions.

The task of the studio is the investigation of future forms of inhabiting this area between city and countryside. The dynamics of “natural” phenomenon shall be reflected in form, construction, performance, program and logistics of the emerging structures. Crucial for the planning and design process is the question about the mediating role of architecture within the interplay of diverting environments.

We will describe conditions of the site and environmental phenomena and represent the notations trough animations and simulations. We will further translate them into kinetic models which again will be transcribed into an urban or architectural scheme. The kinetic models will serve as measuring devices, as mediating tools between the designer and the site, between program and environment, between structure and future appropriators, e.g

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Peripheriestück - Critical Environments II


MArch Studio: Ecology Sustainability Conservation

Hannes Stiefel

Peripheriestück is a piece of our city’s northern periphery – reformulated, re-informed, spatialized, inhabited, and thus a piece of architecture. At the same time it is a play: the staging of a spatially articulated interplay between environments of diverse characteristics, where various protagonist’s roles and functions are constantly shifting. The project shall explore potential models for a future development of the area, whether as an open overall scheme, or in the form of a particular case study with initial or catalysing function. The studio itself shall be established as a productive critical environment.