Buildings and construction processes cause about 40% of all CO2 emissions and can therefore make a significant contribution to tackling the biggest problems of our time - climate collapse and loss of biodiversity. This requires a variety of paradigm shifts, which this research project addresses in a little-researched segment of the planning and real estate sector: the countless retail and commercial properties that have been built primarily on greenfield sites and connected to motorized private transport in recent decades: The research project "Counterintuitive Building Typologies" investigates whether these considerable material and infrastructural resources of commercial properties - more than 13 million squaremetres of retail space in Austria - could also be developed in a more ecologically and economically sustainable way, not least because stationary retail is continuously losing economic traction (furthermore fueled by the pandemic). Could a conversion and further development of these building stocks integrate more circular economy approaches? Even if for most of these sealed mortgages of hardly sustainable spatial and municipal planning only demolition, recycling and re-naturation seem reasonable, this project shows the ecological and economical potentials of selected properties that build on the materially existing resources and their high-quality infrastructure connections and innovatively and function wise counterintuitively rebuild them towards more sustainably positive energy, use, life cycle and social balances.
On the basis of five real properties, case studies will be elaborated that achieve a more efficient spatial utilization of the existing space and resources through multiplication of use. The research project shows "redensification possibilities" of retail areas and provides both spatial planning indicators relevant for municipalities and state policy and technical-economic and design-functional data in the area of costs, energy and sustainability relevant for development and operation.