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"Modulus" project, a way to densify urban development

Dobrawa Bies
02 of November '20

Architecture students Monika Kalinowska and Denys Karandiuk from the University of Applied Arts Angewandte in Vienna have created a modular design for the superstructure of a 1960s Viennese residential building. Their concept using wood as the main building material won first place in the international proHolz Student Trophy competition.

The international proHolz Student Trophy competition was organized by proHolz in cooperation with the city of Vienna. This year's edition focused on an urban densification project using wood as the main building material. The competition task concerned two-story vertical extensions of three existing Viennese residential buildings from the 1960s. The goal was to find system solutions using wood or hybrid wood that could also be applied to other residential buildings of the same type.

Projekt drewnianej

The project titled. "Modulus" is a wooden superstructure of a Viennese building

© Monika Kalinowska, Denys Karandiuk

Modern superstructure of buildings from the 1960s

"Modulus" is a project for a wooden two-story superstructure of a residential building located at 33 Pantucekgasse Street in Vienna. The idea is based on the idea of creating residential diversity with the simultaneous use of prefabricated CLT modules that enable cost reduction and increased efficiency in the construction process. The authors focused on creating an efficient system that could support the strategy of increasing the capacity of old buildings and, enable superstructure on other residential buildings. "Modulus" aims not only to increase the usable area of existing buildings, but also to improve the quality of life of residents, by adding new usable space to each existing apartment.

Dwupiętrowa drewniana

Using wooden modules, four types of apartments were created

© Monika Kalinowska, Denys Karandiuk

Wooden modules for urban housing densification

Using three modules, the students designed four types of apartments with different areas and numbers of rooms - from studios to three-bedroom apartments.

As the authors say:

Prefabrication provides many opportunities to pre-set all necessary utilities and rooms, which, combined with the efficient design of each module, dramatically reduces production and construction costs. A major aspect of the sustainability strategy is the optimal use of the structure of the existing building, thus reducing the amount of material needed for construction. By using CLT panels as the main building raw material, the carbon footprint of the building is reduced, while making the project more easily adaptable to other plots of land. Additionally, with the end of the building's life cycle, the material is easier to recycle and dispose of.


Constructing a homogeneous layout allowed the apartments to extend beyond the face of the building

© Monika Kalinowska, Denys Karandiuk

The structural concept is to treat each apartment as a beam, consisting of the floor along with the walls and ceiling. The first floor of the modules was designed parallel to the direction of the walls of the existing building. Taking advantage of the building's structure, the components were laid on concrete supports anchored to the structural walls. The second floor of the superstructure was designed transversely, forming a mutually reinforcing system. Constructing this type of homogeneous system allowed the authors to extend the apartments beyond the face of the building and create seven-meter-high superstructures. Through the authors' use of strategies to promote energy efficiency, the entire premise became even more efficient in terms of energy consumption as the seasons changed.


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