Reusing & Upcycling Architecture: Rethinking the way we build things

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Type and Duration

FFF-Förderprojekt, November 2018 until October 2019 (finished)


Institute of Architecture and Planning

Main Research

Sustainable Planning and Construction

Field of Research

Architectural Design Theory


The exploitation and destruction of the environment makes a paradigm change in the consumption of resources imperative: in the future, building 'new' must be separated from the dogma of constructing new buildings. Building stock must be seen as a source of ideas and resources, and its reuse and further use must be understood as architectural potential again.
New approaches in architecture show a trend towards 'upcycling', a term that is frequently used, but theoretically and historically rarely defined. It is often forgotten that the history of building was also always a history of reuse and further use - firstly of building materials and parts of buildings; secondly of building expertise and architectural styles. Understanding building structures again as part of a process in social change challenges our current practices and a modern understanding of the uniqueness, insularity and authorship of architecture.
This research project examines the potential of historical concepts of upcycling - the qualitative reuse of buildings and building components - and contrasts them with new developments in architectural and construction practice. The aim of the project is to open up new levels of understanding and explore the question of how new solutions can be found for the future, so that 'reuse and upcycling' in architecture will no longer be seen as a question of idealism but rather an economic argument and a matter of creative and structural quality.


  • Forschungsförderungsfonds der Universität Liechtenstein


  • D. Stockhammer (Ed.). (2020). Upcycling. Reuse and Repurposing as a Design Principle in Architecture / Upcycling. Wieder- und Weiterverwendung als Gestaltungsprinzip in der Architektur. Zurich: Triest Verlag.