It is common practice in Vienna to change development plans to justify demolition in favour of new construction. We are demolishing buildings of the late 1990s due to the obsolescence of their programme, even if the high quality of their materials and construction could support a change of use. Compared to older buildings in which rehabilitation is often not possible, buildings of the 1990s do not need to be changed to the core since there is a bigger chance that they already comply with specific regulations regarding accessibility, fire protection, and energy efficiency.
This diploma challenges the declared obsolescence of the now-demolished 23-year-old Europa-Pavilion in Vienna and proposes an alternative to total demolition. The combination of adaptive reuse and material reuse is used to extend the life of the building. Two critical principles accompany the design process: first, avoid demolition as much as possible, and second, use the reusability potential of materials and components to guide the design decisions.
This approach results in approximately 80% of the building remaining on site. Around 60% of the extracted components are relocated on-site and integrated into the new design. The Europa-Pavilion adaptation offers barrier-free housing, ateliers and working spaces. A new floor adds more density and provides new typologies within the existing constraints. The construction industry is responsible for a third of the world’s waste. If the same practices towards existing buildings prevail, the quantity of generated waste is destined to grow. A fundamental shift in our attitude towards the existing building stock is urgent.
Miller, Norman. “The Industry Creating a Third of the World’s Waste.” From www.bbc.com, December 16, 2021, https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20211215-the-buildings-made-from-rubbish.