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Abstract _ Steffen Boesenberg

Plasticity: Architectural quality and strategy in urban industrial and infrastructural conversion

Architecture and plasticity: Towards a more contextualized approach to industrial conversion. The progressing acceleration in the change of urban habitats challenges architecture to rethink different typologies within a 'classic' understanding of the middle-european city. In the transition from industrialism to informationalism, the collision of industrial megastructures and technical infrastructures with the organically developed structures of our cities inevitable. The research project tries to focus on this task by evaluating previous and recent positions on the topics of revitalization, urban qualities and urban morphology.

An architectural definition of the term 'plasticity' can be seen as a central instrument within the research project. While other scientific fields work with the term in specific and complex definitions, architects still use it commonly. Yet an architectural definition might reveal what qualities could qualify architecture to be more adaptable to recent as well as future changes apart from “tabula rasa”-approaches and romanticized museification. This field-specific definition should include not only the spatial aspects of the term, but also aspects of process and time, that are yet considered in the way the term is used in the profession.

The research project tries to approach aforementioned topics in three iterative steps. First, a theoretical understanding of different studies on urban morphology, perception of space and urban quality with a focus on spatial aspects is established. Then, in interdependency to this, case studies of built projects are used to evaluate specific characteristics and strategies. In a synthesis of those two elements the research project searches for transferable strategies that can be evaluated in experimental scenarios. Thus the morphological aspects that can be summarized with the term plasticity should lead to practically usable methods of design as well as evaluation.