PhD Workshop - Politecnico di Milano / DAStU 
AUID PhD Program

Affordances of Architectural Typologies
12-19 February, 2024

Prof. Andreas Lechner, TU Graz
Prof. Gennaro Postiglione, POLIMI

PhD. Cand. Duccio Fantoni, POLIMI
PhD. Cand. Maike Gold, TU Graz

The significance of architectural description, encompassing both plans and drawings, as well as the terminology defining the "universals of architecture," is undeniably pivotal. What manifests in plans—whether it's the elements like walls, columns, windows, or the broader formal relationships between them—extends to include architectural types such as central plans, peripteros, basilica, and others. These types embody conceptual frameworks that lend structure and order to architectural elements (Martí Arís 2021). Recognising these descriptive mechanisms as integral to our cognitive processes within disciplinary dialogues and as fundamental to the architectural project lies at the heart of this design research workshop.

In response to contemporary challenges like the Green New Deal, Global Climate Change, and the United Nations' Sustainability Development Goals, our focus will hone in on issues of upcycling and adaptive reuse while reevaluating the notion of type in architecture. Our proficiency in envisioning the affordances of a predominantly built world is as urgent as the reconnection of design-led research with an architectural epistemology, especially given that cultural inquiries may seem at odds with the material-centric themes of sustainability and circularity. Yet, architecture, as an inherently material practice, occupies a unique position to reveal beauty within the complexities and contradictions of the environmental shift.

We will delve into the identification and visualization of possible public and collective dimensions through selected case studies. These collective dimensions—types or typological qualities —will be the focal point of our discussion and the outcome of our designs, explicating their affordances in three categories:
1) First, through drawing, we will distill typological qualities from inherent features in existing structures (monuments, palazzi).
2) Second, we will instill collective qualities through transformation and adaptive reuse (18th, 19th, and early 20th-century institutional buildings).
3) Third, we will introduce a new public dimension through the implantation of a new building that reconfigures an existing ensemble (Post-war 20th and 21st century).
Together, these three categories form the material basis of a quintessentially architectural expertise. While acknowledging the validity of various approaches, this expertise explicitly commits to design as a material and transformative process within this building stock.

The workshop foresees full-time attendance in the class (10:00-18:00).

12/02: KoM meeting with Public Lecture and work assignments
13-15/02: work sessions and daily tutorials
16/02: final review
19/02 (afternoon): Instant Exhibition and Public Presentation of the work


Carlos Martí Arís, Variazioni dell’identità, Milano 1993.
Andreas Lechner, Thinking Design: Blueprint of an Architecture of Typology, Zürich 2021.
Rafael Moneo, On Typology, in «Opposition», 1978.
Jorge Otero-Pailos, Erik Langdalen and Thordis Arrhenius, eds. Experimental Preservation, Zürich 2016.
Aldo Rossi, The Architecture of the City, Cambridge-USA, 1984.
Fred Scott, On Altering Architecture, London 2007.

Andreas Lechner
Andreas Lechner is an architect and Associate Professor at TU Graz. He studied at TU Graz and after formative study stays in Los Angeles, trained as an architect living in Berlin, Tokyo and Vienna. At TU Graz he was university assistant, obtained a doctorate in 2009, and was assistant professor from 2011 to 2017. He was a post-doc researcher at the Università Iuav di Venezia and the Royal Danish Academy in Copenhagen and held lectures and visiting professorships in Copenhagen, Genoa, Hamburg, Istanbul and Innsbruck. Andreas won Europan 10 and participated in the second Istanbul Design Biennial 2014 and the 15th Venice Architecture Biennale 2016. His awards winning habilitation thesis was published as ‘Design Thinking - Blueprint for an Architecture of Typology’ (Park Books 2021). As scholarly author and reviewer he is also co-editor of the annual GAM Architecture Magazine (Jovis Berlin) and leader of a  three-year research project funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency. He is a member of the Expert Commission on the Historic Center of Graz and of the Austrian Federal Chamber of Architects and Engineers (

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 

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Last update: 27/08/202

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