Fig. 1  Book cover of Thinking Design - Blueprint for an Architecture of Typology, Zurich: Park Books 2021.

Fig. 2 Plans of 144 projects featured in Thinking Design - Blueprint for an Architecture of Typology drawn at the same scale encompassing theater, museum, library, state, office, recreation, religion, retail, factory, education, surveillance, and hospital structures.  

Fig. 3 Page spread of category “retail” with plans at same scale, building types and key literatures. 

Fig. 4 Aldo Rossi’s “Teatro del Mondo” with plan, section, and axonometric drawings plus a brief text describing central aspects of the composition. 

Fig. 5 “Counterintuitive Typologies” is the title of an enclosed booklet with 12 supervised Master’s theses that is published as a supplement to Thinking Design: Blueprint for an Architecture of Typology.

Fig. 6 Page Spreads from booklet “Counterintuitive Typologies” with twelve master’s theses supervised by Andreas Lechner at TU Graz between 2015 and 2021.

Fig. 7 Extract from Alexander Gebetsroither’s diploma thesis I-710/I-105 #more than infrastructure on a Los Angeles highway interjunction from 2016. This thesis was awarded Archiprix world’s best graduate thesis in 2017.

Counterintuitive Typologies is Andreas Lechner’s research and teaching focus at Graz University of Technology’s faculty of architecture. This TU Graz research group comprises international cooperations, design studios and electives, master’s theses, PhD and research projects, and currently a three-year research project that was granted by the Austrian Science Promotion Agency FFG.

As a research and educational project, Counterintuitive Typologies responds to current challenges by combining matters of upcycling and the adaptive re-use of existing structures with re-addressing the notion of type in architecture. With “type”, our aim is to reconnect and critically update an epistemology of architecture, as questions of cultural relevance are seemingly counter-positioned to the inevitably material-based themes around circularity. We see architecture in a central position to discover the beauty that lies within the environmental turn – something that can neither be assumed nor taken for granted when narrowing down on methods and concepts from natural or the social sciences, engineering, or the fine arts. This  conviction draws our attention to “counterintuitive typologies” – i.e. to the many tensions arising from today's multiple contradictions and temporalities in order to recalibrate the agencies and agendas of architecture’s expertise, project, and design. 

Counterintuitive Typologies was launched along working on the second German and first English edition of Andreas’ book Thinking Design – Blueprint for an Architecture of Typologies (Park Books 2021, fig. 1, 8), that draws on the analytical and typological processes associated with Aldo Rossi’s reading of cities as a composition of monuments, permanent traces, and collective memory.

Within three chapters – Tectonics, Type and Topos, drawings of 144 important buildings from ancient times to the twenty-first century are presented (fig.2 ) and focus on civic typologies. These 12 typologies incorporate a suite of 12 examples (fig. 3), drawn in line drawings in plan, section, and axonometric resp. occasionally a key elevation (fig. 4). But an enclosed booklet with 12 master’s theses (fig. 5) applies those approaches to interpret city edges, commercial vernacular, and the urban periphery – i.e. counterintuitive typologies (fig. 6). These extracts from design theses – all supervised by Prof. Lechner between 2015 and 2021 – counter the more familar typologies of the book by asking what future monuments the periphery leaves behind. The theses illustrate this question as and through (extracts from) design projects, i.e. as basic subject of architecture as a discipline with its own subject matter and are featured in the very same and comparable drawing format and page spread as the 144 projects in the book before (fig. 7)

Counterintuitive Typologies aims at a substantial and culturally engaged architecture of today and tries to both engage directly with the contingencies of material life and to connect and update epistemologies and policies of the discipline of architecture in face of an uneven and imperfect world. Type and analogical thinking might helps us reframing the ways we think about cultural production and certainly challenge the idea of the work of art as an autonomous entity.

Andreas Lechner

(Aug 2023)


Andreas Lechner
(PI, TU Graz, Associate Professor)

Andreas Lechner (°1974) is an Austrian architect and academic. With professional and research qualifications and experience in architecture, along with a PhD and habilitation on typology and design strategies, Lechner operates through the oscillation between theory and practice. He is particularly interested in the development of architectural language, spatial systematics and design genealogies.

Maike Gold
(TU Graz, Project Assistant & PhD candidate)

Stefan Hochhofer
(TU Graz, student assistant)

Laura Suvieri
(Erasmus, Università degli Studi di Perugia)

Fig. 8 Page spreads from Thinking Design - Blueprint for an Architecture of Typology

Counterintuitive Typologies
Research & Teaching Lab

Associate Professor
Dr. Andreas Lechner

TU Graz / Faculty of Architecture
Institute of Design & Building Typology
Lessingstrasse 25/IV
A-8010 Graz, Austria

T   +43 316 873 6298
E   maike.gold@tugraz.at 

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Last update: 27/08/202

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