Variegated Poché

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Variegated Poché

October 6, 2023 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm

PhD Defence / Rigorosum

Andreas Körner, BSc MArch


Variegated Poché

Exploring thermochromic materials as surrogate models for the design integration of surface weathering in architecture.



Current environmental and ecological pressures lead architects to reconsider the relationships between the inside and the outside, the permanence of surfaces, and the ageing of buildings. Integrating weathering through design and contextualising it in architectural theory are key components of this paradigm shift. This doctoral dissertation explores thermochromic materials as surrogate models for weathering as a design tool. Thermochromics change colour due to temperature. The research projects investigate the textural relationship between surfaces, substrates, and environments. The study employs a mixed-methods approach. First, a comprehensive literature review surveys the contemporary and historical concepts of weather, colour, texture, and poché. The correlation between the 19th-century debate on architectural polychromy and anthropogenic pollution acts as a historical case study for today’s relationship between ornament and climate change. Subsequently, the method of thermochromic programming is developed via five design research projects. Consequently, aesthetic chromogenic correlations between natural, long-term weathering and reversible, short-term thermochromic materials are outlined. The findings demonstrate that thermochromic programming can act as a surrogate model to explore design aspects of augmented weathering in architecture. Modulating thermal mass, topography, and strategic layering of coatings, informed by environmental simulations, can control the thermochromic response. While the results provide a sufficient basis to assess the method’s viability for design, further long-term and large-scale control studies are required. A series of provocative arguments are formed by critically reflecting on the findings from design, history, and theory. They range from cutaneous terminology like ‘complexion’ for chromogenic phenomena on architectural surfaces to proposing the transplantation of integrated building services from within the poché to the outward-facing side of its tissue. This research contributes to the field of architecture by providing a historical contextualisation of environmentally induced colour change, the development of material-based design and simulation methods, and the extrapolation of findings to establish novel frameworks for augmenting weathering.


Board of Examiners:
Assoc. Prof. Dipl.Ing. Dagmar Reinhardt, MArch PhD (University of Sydney)
Univ.-Prof. Mag. Arch. Hannes Stiefel, SIA (University of Applied Arts Vienna)
Univ.-Prof. Dipl. Ing. Marjan Colletti, MArch Dott. PhD ARB (University of Innsbruck, University College London)


October 6, 2023
11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Institut – Spielwiese
Technikerstraße 21, 3.OG Nord
Innsbruck, 6020 Austria
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Andreas Körner
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