“Inventorics – Recombining Artifacts for Innovation” AR 730-G is an artistic research project at the University of Applied Arts Vienna funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) within the PEEK programme.
The team consists of Architects, Designers, Programmers and Engineers

Project Lead: Christoph Kaltenbrunner
Mentors: Mario Carpo, Anja Jonkhans, Clemens Preisinger
Researchers: Zeynep Aksöz, Lukas Allner, Benjamin James, Daniela Kröhnert, Andrea Rossi

Collaborations with: Ensamble Studio, Philipp Eversmann (University of Kassel), Hélène Frichot (Building and Planning University of Melbourne), Lydia Kallipoliti (Cooper Union New York), Jakob Lederer (Technical University Vienna), Tobias Nolte (Certain Measures), Jun Sato (University of Tokyo)

Today, with the help of digital tools for design and fabrication in architecture, complex structures can be designed and realized. With this computational power, it is also possible to build with unique parts, which allows to consider found objects and “waste products” as a resource for construction. To value and to (re)use such unconventional materials could contribute to a self-sustaining building culture with a distinctive aesthetic.

Embedded in the field of discrete design, where versatile modular components are used to assemble buildings that can be dismantled and reconfigured, this project aims to combine these separate approaches into a method for designing transformable spatial systems made from industrial waste stocks. Conventional sustainability concepts, based on circular economy principles, commonly strive for standardization, and minimizing irregularities. But the complexity of predefined artifacts not only constitutes a problem to be solved but offers a creative potential. The disparity between the uniqueness of parts on one hand and their systematic assembly on the other, might provide a productive tension and a unique opportunity for innovation. 

Expanding the range of resource types beyond standard formats requires both, an advanced computer-based way of working, and an intuitive artistic approach. An emphasis on the process lies at the core of this research project – the work focuses on iterative studies that follow a defined concept but are conducted with open outcomes. Understanding the distinct characteristics of parts and the emerging consequences for potential correlations is the basis for a bottom-up method of designing, which is built upon findings from the team’s preceding PEEK project. Throughout this project, experimentation is key. “Making”, both in physical and digital realms, is understood as a means of understanding and clarifying complex questions. Furthermore the work is embedded in an interdisciplinary exchange with experts.
In the first phase, a range of possible material categories is assessed and subsequently narrowed down to a focus on significant examples. After that, the work is structured in a series of iterative work clusters; within each, one specific type of resource is examined in depth, subsequently accumulating knowledge, techniques and concepts. By disclosing findings and techniques, as well as making tools openly accessible, the project aims to expand the field of discrete and circular design towards more diverse concepts, that reach beyond purely functional solutions and to encourage additional research and discourse.