Vertical Archipelagos 1/2

Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Vertical Archipelagos 1/2

January 31 @ 1:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Final presentations

Bachelor studio: Vertical Archipelagos (848136 PJ Design Studio 3)

Supervisors: Prof. Marjan Colletti, Andreas Körner, Jade Bailey


In 1972, anthropologist John Murra introduced the ‘vertical archipelagos’ hypothesis in his research on Andean cultures. This concept elucidates the emergence of communities within non-adjacent ecological strata. Diverse elevations yield distinct climatic conditions, resulting in advantageous enclaves and isolated pockets within a broader framework. As seasons transition and circumstances fluctuate, intermittent bridges and corridors form, uniting ecologies that would otherwise remain apart.

Historically, architectural expression is predominantly concerned with the vertical distribution of loads and the struggle against gravity. However, verticality also offers significant environmental opportunities beyond its advantages in terms of density and reduced ground impact (optimising land use and minimising the need for urban sprawl into green spaces or natural habitats). By stacking spaces vertically, architects can harness natural lighting and ventilation more effectively, reducing the need for excessive artificial compensation and lowering energy consumption and carbon emissions. The studio will explore the design of buildings as vertical landscaping: artificial structures placed in a natural environment. Importantly, those structures are not limited to towers but include diverse strategies for distributing mass on terrains.

Just as archipelagos consist of islands scattered across a vast expanse of water, a ‘vertical archipelago’ involves establishing habitable zones at distinct elevations in a mountainous context. Each ‘island’ or habitat within this system is uniquely adapted to its altitude, climate, and ecological conditions. The idea draws inspiration from ecological diversity and sustainability principles, aiming to explore ecotones on the thresholds between human dwellings and the natural environment. As students, you will translate this concept into the Alpine environment surrounding the city of Innsbruck. The exploration will begin with analysing weather patterns and land formations, eventually evolving into intricate tectonic frameworks, ever-evolving envelopes, and innovative spatial compositions. This process will unveil how the interplay of verticality and insularity can ingeniously harmonise, offering innovative architectural strategies that resonate with the distinctive Alpine setting. Through a series of design prototypes, you will be asked to develop a strategy to compress such considerations into smaller and more detailed units.


Guest critics:

Kilian Bauer, Tiziano Derme, Barbara Imhof, Maria Kuptsova, Thomas Mathoy, Natalia Priorecka, Nuria Widmann


Download the Brief




January 31
1:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Categories:
, , ,
Event Tags:


Institut – Spielwiese
Technikerstraße 21, 3.OG Nord
Innsbruck, 6020 Austria
+ Google Map


Andreas Körner
View Organizer Website