Master Design Studio

Infrastructural Intensities

EM1 Master Design Course

The topic of this semester’s master design studio
is explore the transformative potential of novel
modes of urban public transportation for the
programmatic city and its fabric.
Taking Vienna’s recent cable car project as a
conceptual and investigative starting point
students will conceptualise, locate and design
their own cable car system in Vienna, focusing on
the design of the various buildings required to
interweave their system of transportation with the
surrounding city fabric and speculating about the
urban, spatial, ecological, and social impact on
the city.
In developed countries, so far, urban cable car
lines, such as the Roosevelt Island Tramway
NYC, the London Cable Car, or the
Hungerburgbahn for that matter, are commonly
devised as strictly linear systems, connecting the
city centre with touristic locations. Meanwhile,
major cities of the global South, such as La Paz
and Medellin, have connected cable car lines to
form large three-dimensional networks of public
transportation, thus counteracting strong local
urban constrictions.
While the project proposed for Vienna at this point
belongs to the first category, connecting the city
with the nearby Kahlenberg (a popular, yet hard
to reach touristic vantage point), students are
encouraged to develop their own transportation
system beyond linearity and speculate about its
networked qualities.
Despite the studio topic’s technological aspects,
design focus is strongly placed on the
development of adequate spatial, formal, material
and programmatic solutions to the architectural
challenges that arise from the new buildings’
conceptual interaction with and transformation of
the respective urban fabric they are located in,
inviting for typological and programmatic
hybridisation. Within a common semiological
framework, different cable car stops and stations
will require differentiated formal and
programmatic responses depending on their
urban context
Therefore, the studio’s goal is to develop
innovative coherent – yet differentiated –
typologies for contemporary spatial solutions at
the conceptual and functional intersection of
novel urban infrastructures and long-standing
urban configurations, thus investigating their
transformative and combinatorial capacities.
Novel modes of public transportation offer the
potential to reduce motorised private traffic, thus
questioning traditional urban layouts and traffic
networks and opening up the opportunity to reallocate
urban space in the light of social,
ecological and climatic necessities. In line with
this semester’s conceptual undercurrent of
sustainability, ecology, and decarbonisation
special attention will be given to the building
envelope as the main interface between internal
and external climatic conditions.
Students will work on individual strategies and
architectural concepts by using novel digital tools
to foster algorithm-based spatial, programmatic
and geometric explorations, with a special focus
on the application of Creative AI and machine
learning in architecture.At the end of the
semester each group will have a comprehensive
architectural design project covering all relevant
building aspects with the ambition to discuss their
design within the context of contemporary
architectural discourse.