building house

Ep. 3 Living. Breathing. Building. – Klaus Klaas Leonhart

Ep. 3 Living. Breathing. Building. - Klaus Klaas Leonhart

Since my childhood, there was always this exposure to the climates of the forest and the open landscape. So that was always with me throughout my entire life. My name is Klaus K. Loenhart and in my design studio I combine architecture and nature.

As we are designing for different climate zones, this place is a hands-on experience of unique plant communities. And this is what were interested in. Not just single plants that are somehow beautiful, but actually communities that communicate. We actually invite nature and natural phenomena as our instructive co-designers.

So nature becomes an active part in our thinking, but also in our practice and conception. We call that natural performance. So this is actually a showcase project where we can see how buildings of the future may start breathing, not only conceptually, but really literally. What you see here is just one courtyard out of 13 courtyards with different microclimates that are being produced by the plants themselves by a process called evapotranspiration.

So evapotranspiration means that there is evaporation of water through the leaves and in that process the surrounding air is cooling down. So no need for artificial climate machine in this building. Just imagine buildings that actually breathe, as we do, every second of our lives. I grew up in an environment where we were discussing the arts at the kitchen table.

There was no distinction between the arts and music, or design or architecture. I think there lies an inherent richness in relating these fields together as actual parts of future cities. Graz has a certain energy to it. Those buildings from the 15th century allow us to create spaces that have a beautiful atmosphere.

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The separation of culture and nature is an illusion. This becomes the powerful foundation of our design thinking. The perfection that Im aiming for is not measurable, it is not quantifiable, but it is about feeling, touching, experiencing and ideally, getting joyful and happy in those environments..

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