Criteria for Structural Design in the Peri-urban Space

A key aspect of peri-urban space seems to be a powerful dynamics in the way building and land use change. A place can undergo transformations between a wide range of different functions – for example petrol stations, supermarkets, fitness studios, office and residential buildings – quite suddenly within the space of a single decade.

To assess the suitability of modes of construction for this dynamic space, one could investigate different building typologies and the associated modes of construction and preferred materials as dependent on the regional construction industry. Which building systems are preferred for temporary uses? Are commercial buildings in Graz mainly realised as steel frame structures, while frame construction with reinforced concrete is the predominant mode for residential and office buildings? Overall, one could try to use diagrams to depict the quality of the various systems with regard to prefabrication, dismantling and conversion in connection with their usual service life.

Bearing structure design is influenced by numerous factors including the general building concept, the load-bearing system, the material involved, the intended use, legal standards, and aesthetic wishes. Finally, measurements are needed to demonstrate carrying capacity, fitness for use and permissible deformation. This involves drawing up an equation that considers the resistance of the bearing structure in terms of materiality and tectonics with regard to the stresses exerted by various loads and forces. Before calculating the actual performance of a system, however, the bearing structure design is usually based on rules of thumb and more abstract considerations at the level of general principles. There are, for example, certain modes of construction and building methods that entail a certain catalogue of properties. Armed with a knowledge of these categorisations, designers can derive characteristics and verify the basic suitability for the particular building task or design in advance.

Accordingly, the modular building method envisaged in the project first and foremost tells us something about the geometric qualities that are generally speaking advantageous for standardised, economical production. This means interrelating the envisaged modular units, with defined dimensions, in a grid system. Individual modules have defined spans and connection points and can be joined together to create an overall system. From the point of view of planning load-bearing structures, the challenges tend to lie in configuring the connection details between modules. However, too many design parameters are unsettled to consider the suitability of a modular building method for developing leftover areas in peri-urban space. For what dimensions, combinations and uses should the modules be designed? Will the infrastructure or building services be integrated into each module? Are there different module types or is there a fixed infrastructure core within a larger overall structure?

Walter Jonas: Raumstadt - Heinsrich Klotz: Vision der Moderne

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Modular and Serial Building