Modernizing by Catalogue

Façade and Open Space Modernization with Standard Building Components in Housing of the Fifties und Sixties.

Short Description




Present condition:

Multi-storey residential buildings built in the fifties and sixties have functional floor plans and minimalist window-façades. The standards of energy efficiency and of facilities are low. In these buildings there is little or none construction reserve.


However, the urban qualities of such buildings and settlements are evident. Further advantages are abundant open spaces and green areas, both of which are common for this type of building typology.

When re-investing after 50 years of continuous use of these buildings, renovation should not be limited solely to certain motives such as better insulation or elimination of damaged components. The expansion of existing space und adding new functions should also be one of the goals.

The façade can be seen as three-dimensional building site for increased functional exploitation. Strategies implemented in open space can also lead to intensified und expanded usage. Ground floors of the buildings are defined as areas, where housing area can be reduced. This strategy is one of the answers to vacant spaces.

We plan to evaluate the life cycle of the buildings and their elements. Utilization through inhabitants / dwellers will be documented and used as a guiding strategy.


The main goal is to develop a catalogue of building components and measures from which dwellers and owners can chose freely.

Both small to medium interventions (for instance window enlargement, new balconies and loggias) as well as components with advanced technique (for example solar panels and buffer zones) will be part of the "Catalogue of Modernization". Interventions made by inhabitants on one hand and common market products on the other hand are models for possible catalogue elements. Fitting the elements from the outside and achievable DIY installation of components through dwellers are desirable options. A universal system for mounting new elements and for distribution of load will be examined and roughly calculated.

Relevant information for each building component such as cost, energy data, weight etc. will be presented in the catalogue.

Methodical approach:

  • Analysis of existing building typology and typical usage by dwellers
  • Selection of a typical / exemplary building
  • Development of "Catalogue of Modernization" components by determining possible building units, items for free space and green areas, strategies for lowering or increasing the use of certain areas of the building or its adjoining open space.
  • Workshop: producers of standard building components participating (probable date: fall 2004)
  • Gathering information and calculations on cost, energy data and construction properties for each element
  • Catalogue evaluation
  • Discussion of the results

Strategic Goals

We also plan to obtain additional funding for the realization of the selected project. (EU funded programs, for example Urban II)

Project Partners

Project manager: Architect Dipl.-Ing. Maja Lorbek
  • Energy efficiency: Dipl.-Ing. Gerhild Stosch / s&w energy consulting
  • Landscape architecture: Dipl.-Ing. Alice Größinger
  • Construction: Dipl.-Ing. Astrid Reidlinger


Architect Dipl.-Ing. Maja Lorbek
Schottenfeldgasse 72/2/6
1070 Wien
Tel/Fax: 01/526 38 41