Based on global warming, decline of existing energy resources, exponential population growth, increasing geopolitical instabilities which are the result of uncertainty of the future energy supply, together with the fact that buildings represent about 40% of total energy consumption worldwide leads to a conclusion that a good architecture is not possible without a good energy concept.


    The buildings represent the bigger part of one of the biggest problem of our society - fair distribution of available resources. Therefore architecture can be a big part of the solution. Never before in the history of our civilization architecture had such a chance to gain one of the central roles in the society. Good architecture is always representing the expression of the cultural values, priorities and hopes of a society. Now it can produce a physical response for the existential challenges.


    A sustainable development by definition cannot get along with the decay in architectural quality of our built environment. A building with low architectural quality and good energy concept is not an actual benefit for a sustainable future. The objective of research and teaching at the Institute is the maximization of energy performance of buildings and cities, and the development of architectural and urban projects through form and structure optimization toward energy efficiency.

  • TEAM

    Head of the Institute

    Brian Cody


    Office hours

    Monday - Friday, 09:00 - 12:00

    Assistant (Substitute)

    Renate Teppner

    consultation-hour - wednesday 11:00 - 12:00

    consultation-hour - tuesday 10:00 - 11:00

    consultation-hour - friday 11:00 - 12:00

    Assistant (Maternity leave)

    Christiane Wermke


    Project Assistant

    Student assistant

    Gresa Kastrati

    Student assistant

    Student assistant

    • Construction Physics

      (3. Semester)


       Prof. Brian Cody, DI Alexander Eberl


      Basic knowledge of those aspects of construction physics, which are relevant for the architectural design such as temperature and air quality inside and outside the building, heat transfer, the thermal and hygric behavior of building construction, heat protection, light, natural air-conditioning, acoustics, noise protection. The importance of climatic influences on the architectural design and the utilization of physical phenomena in the field of building and urban development is a central theme of the lecture. The course forms the basis for VU Building Engineering and VU Architecture and Energy.

      After the successful completion of the course, students will be able to aplly the knowledge in the design approach.


      mehr Info.


    • Building Engineering

      (3. Semester)


      Prof. Brian Cody, DI Wolfgang Löschnig, DI Martin Schneebacher, DI Minoru Suzuki,

      DI Hatice Cody, Renate Teppner


      Based on the contents of the lecture series, students will be provided with the ability to evaluate building from a building engineering and energetic point of view. The resulting knowledge can be applied to future design projects. By using the working method of case studies of well-known buildings, the complex interdependency between climate, building envelope, active building engineering systems and last but not least, architectural form will be analyzed and illustrated. The focus is on the question of how architecture and technology interact and whether or not they can reinforce each other in a positive synergistic sense.  Architectural models on the case studies will be built by the students and are intended to enable and aid the understanding of the complex systems involved and especially of their architectural implications.


      Mehr Info

      Link zum Tutorial

    • Architecture and Energy

      (4. Semester)


      Vortragende:  Prof. Brian Cody, DI Aleksandar Tepavcevic, DI Hatice Cody, DI Wolfgang Löschnig,

      DI Martin Schneebacher, DI Minoru Suzuki


      The aim of this course is to help develop the ability to consider building design holistically. Merely reducing a building's energy consumption does not necessarily mean that the resulting building can be regarded as energy-efficient. Instead architecture should incorporate the triad of minimized energy consumption, maximized environmental comfort and last but not least, architectural quality. In this course students apply the knowledge gained in the preceding courses Building Engineering and Construction Physics regarding the interplay of climate, envelope, active systems and form and use it to develop an energy optimized design project in the context of this academic year's annual topic.


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    • Workshop 3

      (5. Semester)


      Aleksandar Tepavcevic


      This semester, within the scope of the annual topic, we will explore the housing typology. We will apply an energy concept for affordable housing, developed by Prof. Brian Cody. The core of the concept is a flexible buffer-zone which replaces the conventional facade. This "Inhabitable Skin" offers a creative playground and approaches towards the architectural and physical functions of the building envelope. How could this buffer zone be spatially and functionally integrated into the residential units? Which role do climate, zoning, orientation and geometry play? In close relation to these questions, housing units should be developed that fill ans reinterpret gaps between existing structures,


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    • Design of Specialized Topics

      (6. Semester)


      Mag. arch. Aleksandar Tepavcevic


      Developing a multi-story housing unit in accordance with the concept of the annual topic. The relationship between the technological efforts and the estimated energy performance over the building's life-cycle has  to be considered and optimized within the design stage. The chosen design strategy has to be analyzed and refined using the evaluation method, described within the goals of the annual topic. The aim of the course is to foster a critical examination of own design decisions in regard to the chosen objective target. The particular design strategy must consider energetic aspects which satisfy fundamental comfort criteria and optimize the building integrated energy production. Special focus will be made on the role of the facade and the development on new, cutting edge facade concepts as a regulatory mechanism for optimal indoor climate and energy usage.  The course's objective is to develop a sophisticated architectural solution. After a successful completion of the seminar, the students will have the ability to outline their work in relation to the current architectural discourse and create solutions, which are oriented towards the current state of art.


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    • Integral Design Studio

      Compulsory Subject


      Prof. Brian Cody, Aleksandar Tepavcevic


      In the age of information, our everyday is overwhelmed by Big Data. How to work with this amount of information? Can we use this data as parameters for our architectural projects? How to convert idata into mathematical formulas, and how to implement these results into algorithms to optimize our models? Can we build on Big Data? In the time of increasing energy demand, where the race for resources has become a major trigger for international conflicts, the principle form follows energy becomes more relevant than ever. But how can we integrate it into the design process? Where is the link between energy and information? Between energy and form?


      During this project, students will gain a basic knowledge of energy optimization in building design process. Understanding physical forces such as wind and sun, and using them to reach design objectives, dealing with macro and micro climates, working with parameters and information, controlling complex geometry, managing Big Data and the proper implemetation of thermal buffer zones, are some of the main goals for this year's design studio.


      mehr Info.


    • Computer Simulation

      Elective Subject / Obligatory Elective Subject for the Integral Design Studio SS


      Renate Teppner


      The content of this seminar is an overview of the basic techniques of simulating thermal and air flow configurations using the software tool ANSYS Fluent.


      Specific questions concerning the ventilation systems and the thermal indoor comfort of the individual projects of the Integral Design Studio will be investigated. Representative parts of these projects will be simplified and simulated for selected boundary conditions. The further development of the design concept will be based on the discussion and the interpretation of the simulation results.


      Mehr Info

    • Energy Design

      Elective Course


       Prof. Brian Cody, DI Alexander Eberl


      The seminar Energy Design makes an important contribution to the work on the annual theme at our institute. In this seminar, selected realized architectural projects are systematically analysed in regards of their specific climatic and urban context, critically reviewed and evaluated.

      Alternative solutions and approaches will be developed, revealing correlations between design decisions and the energy performance of buildings. The subject is treated by both individual and group work and ongoing results are presented, discussed and developed during seminar units. The completed work is summarized, illustrated and compiled in a book at the end of the semester.



      Mehr Info

    • Advanced Facade Technologies

      Elective Subject / Obligatory Elective Subject for the Integral Design Studio WS


       Renate Teppner


      Considerations on the physical factors acting on facades and the impact of facades on the indoor comfort are the topics of this seminar.

      After some introductory examples, the students will analyze a simplified part of their student project geometry of the Integral Design Studio for selected boundary conditions on the resulting indoor comfort. The results of the analysis will support decisions in the personal design process. The software used for the analysis is ANSYS Fluent.


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    • Advanced Architectural Science

      Elective Subject / Obligatoy Elective Subject for the Integral Design Studio SS


      Dipl. Ing. Sebastian Sautter


      This academic year we are working on an "Inhabitable Skin", which will cover important aspects building operation and will have a decisive influence on the total energy concept and energy efficiency of the building.


      The seminar leads the participants of the Integral Design Studio to an energetically optimized, architectural concept (form follows energy). The "Inhabitable Skin" will be integrated into the overall energy concept, and it's potentials and pitfalls will be explored.


      Mehr Info

    • Advanced Building Systems

      Elective Subject / Obligatory Elective Subject for the Integral Design Studio WS


      Dipl. Ing. Sebastian Sautter


      The seminar shows a broad overview of technical building systems and their applications and limitations.

      The aim of the seminar is to integrate the "Inhabitable Skin" into the overall energy concept taking by means of appropriate building systems. This will be done in regard to climatic conditions and building use in order to ensure an energy-efficient operation, which we define as high thermal comfort at low energy consumption.


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    • Urban Design and Energy

      Elective course


      Mag.arch.Dr.techn. Daniel Podmirseg


      This seminar consists in an experimental design approach focussing on spatial potentials of Inhabitalbe Skins within skyscrapers in

      Manhattan. A sustainable housing neighborhood will be developed on the chosen site.

      The space to design considers programmes such as extension of the private apartments and spaces for food production. Potential circulation

      areas in the third dimension have to be considered to connect the buildings. Additional spaces for social gatherings and gastronomy

      are desired.

      The focus is on the design tasks, defined in the annual topic and their potential influence on of energy performance, spatial quality, micro

      climate and quality of life of the urban quartier. A sustainable energy concept is an integral part of each design project.


      Mehr Info

    • Master Thesis Projects


      Prof. Brian Cody


      The formal guidelines of TU Graz for the composition of the Master Thesis must be complied.

      For any questions regarding this matter, please contact the Dean's Office of the Faculty of Architecture of TU Graz. Tel. +43 (0) 316-873-6101 or +43 (0) 316-873-6102.

      A Portfolio with the current projects must be submitted to the Institute of Buildings and Energy, at the Rechbauerstrasse 12, 8010 Graz. Furthermore, a concept for the Thesis should already exist, including a detailed approach to the selected working method. A time schedule for the Thesis should also be considered.



      more info and examples of previous projects

    • SONTE



      The exploratory study Smarte Modernisierung Terrassenhaussiedlung – SONTE has the goal to develop a general guideline for assessing the modernization possibilities of participatory inventory designed

      residential buildings. The Terrassenhaussiedlung Graz-St. Peter serves as a development and test bed at the same time. The development of the guideline is shown exemplarily and objectified for

      transmission to other residential buildings. The focus is a comprehensive, holistic approach including ecological and social sustainability.




      More Info


    • Vitality



      VITALITY aims though at developing design rules and parameter areas for technically founded planning to be applied in exemplary use-cases with an urban context. Further, the influence of BIPV on further planning parameters of buildings (like thermal comfort, electrical yield) are evaluated. The usability and relevance for Building Information Modeling (BIM systems) will play an essential role in the project. According to the definitions of Climate Targets of the European Union (2009, 2011 and 2015) the area-wide implementation of BIPV is a must. At the same time the European Building Directive foresees the compulsory implementation of BIPV or similar active energy generation measures. These developments require strong efforts in terms of simplifying and enabling the consideration of BIPV in the planning process of buildings and urban districts.



      More Info


    • Smart Facades



      This research aims to determine, which properties an ideal building envelope should adopt depending on the conditions and time of the day/year etc. The energetic potentials of so-called smart facades or adaptive facades are being analyzed, which shall achieve the maximum possible energy efficiency providing the maximum comfort through the possibility of variable physical properties. The concept of the smart facade is using weather forecasts, predicted prospective occupant behavior (based on past experiences and by means of an integrated approach of artificial intelligence) and current requirements and boundary conditions to adopt physical properties that lead to an energetically optimized performance as well as comfort for the user. A novel and innovative dynamic simulation model is being developed specifically for this project. This study shall be the base for future developments and the implementation of new building envelopes and their control in different climate regions with scientific and industrial collaborators.


      Mehr Info


    • High-Tech / Low-Tech



      One of the current research topics at our institute is High Tech or Low Tech? and which of these approaches are best to reach our goals regarding energy efficiency and sustainability. So far there has not been any sound discourse about this research question in the scientific community. Discussions in the architectural discipline are usually of pure stylistically nature. However, in the past years, there seems a consensus amongst architects, both practicing and those undertaking research as well as students, even though with a more emotional rather than intellectual character, towards a preference for a low-tech-approach. This development is likewise fascinating, as well as- in an era with huge technological developments and a dependency on technology in our everyday life somehow worrying. Is this tendency even a direct effect of an ever growing dependency? How come low tech seems in vogue in architecture? Is it a kind of marketing hype for a new genre? Is it because the approach seems to correspond stylistically with the architectural goals? No-one wants a low-tech mobile phone, a low-tech car or computer. Why a low-tech building then? What is a high-tech building?


      Mehr Info

    • Parametric Energy Design



      This research project aims to establish work flows and tools for a parametric energy-optimized development of urban structures. These are for example being used to determine the optimal envelope of a volume on a site within an urban context. The aim is to maximize the energy yield through the buildings envelope integrated solar modules and minimize the energy demand of the building. Another aspect to be reduced is the negative impact of solar gain of adjacent sites. Within this envelope, different building designs may be developed


      Mehr Info:



    • BEEP



      The BEEP (Building Energy and Environmental Performance) method was developed to identify the real energy efficiency of a building and to allow a thorough comparison between different design options. Results of case studies which were analyzed with this very method, clearly show that a low energy consumption does not equal a high energy efficiency. This complex evaluation method is able to lead to very different architectural solutions than common techniques or methods. This new method developed within the scope of the above mentioned research project was presented to the scientific community in Helsinki in June 2007 on an international congress. Results of further studies regarding different options for refurbishments of an office building was published in 2010.


      Mehr Info

    • Impact of a Potential Climate Change on the Energy Demand for Heating and Cooling of Buildings



      Whilst the focus of research at the institute lies on the development of strategies to maximize the energy efficiency in the context to contribute towards the reduction of global warming, an interesting question arises considering the apparently inevitable climate change, how buildings must be designed to function in the expected external climate. This research project analysed the question as to what extend the forecast climate change may impact the energy demand for heating and cooling of buildings in Austria.


      Mehr Info

    • Form follows Energy



      Collaborations with world leading, international practicing architecture offices have a proven track record and are an important instrument to expand the state of knowledge in the field of holistic, overall energetic concepts of buildings and urban-design projects as well as advancing the urgently necessary development in this research area worldwide. The consulting company Energy Design Cody is being consulted for some of the most thrilling and fascinating construction projects in the world and is collaborating with world leading architects like Coop Himmelb(l)au, Rem Koolhaas OMA, MVRDV, Miralles Tagliabue to name a few. These collaborations have led to more than 35 first prizes in international competitions. At the same time, software tools are being developed to pave the way for energetic analyses and optimization of innovative energy design concepts. This innovative know-how is being directly transferred to the students when teaching at the institute.


      Mehr Info


    • Building Form and Energy



      One key issue of our research is the relationship between energy efficiency of buildings and the buildings form. In order to achieve the social objectives towards the sustainable development of our environment, we know, that energy efficiency and ecology of each and every architectural project shall be on top of every planners agenda. If the diverse aspects of energy efficiency are being considering during the design process, new building forms may be found in architecture. This project focuses on the following research questions: What is the impact of the relationship between the form and the energy demand of a building? Does the inclusion of these considerations inevitably lead to a new formal language? Or is it possible to optimise the energy efficiency of a building regardless of its architectural style and without any effect of the intended architectural impression to achieve the social objectives regarding sustainability anyway? The relationship between architecture and energy will always exist. No matter if form follows energy or energy follows form, the energy efficiency of a building is significantly influenced by its architecture


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    • Natural Ventilation of High-Rise Buildings



      At first sight a high rise building seems inherently energy efficient. The existing wind pressure in greater heights often makes it impossible to use conventional external sun protection and openable windows. That is why usually mechanical ventilation and air-conditioning are being applied and used all year round. Hence, strategies that allow natural ventilation of high buildings have a high potential to improve the energy efficiency. That is why the concept of the winning project of the competition for the new HQ of the European Central Bank in Frankfurt (Germany) consists of natural ventilation of the building only. This idea was then further developed within this research project.


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    • Vertical Farming



      This exploratory study is defined as the preparation for a prototypical Vertical Farm

      in Vienna.

      The main research goal is to unveil the principles which are essential to develop a Vertical Farm within an urban context beyond a cooperative R&D-project.

      Investigations within this project are touching all crucial influencing parameters in plant physiology as well as typological questions which are related to architectural questions. Climatic conditions,

      conceptual investigations in building services as well as communication technology and control

      engineering make part of this exploratory research project.



      More Info



    • Hyperbuilding City



      Whilst looking for answers to the demands and strategies for a spatial, chronological and digital densification, in this research project, we are creating vertical structures as a conceptual model that covers all necessary infrastructural elements of a society including energy generation, food production and industry. These so-called hyper buildings should not be imagined as solitaires, but as single cells of a complex city model. The concept of hyper buildings foresees structures that consists of urban areas with a population density similar to that of Manhattan but does not require any external energy or water supply, nor does it produce any garbage or emits any CO2.


      Mehr Info


    • Urban Form and Energy



      Within the scope of research of different hypothetical city models, various studies have been conducted to determine the optimal degree of urban density regarding energy. The results clearly show that the parameter of the energy production by means of regenerative energy sources as well as land use required for it play a significant role. The integration of these energy production areas within the surface of the building envelope is an important criteria for the determination of the optimal density.


      Mehr Info

    • Tele-working and Energy Efficiency



      This research project analyses the correlation between different types of tele-working and the overall energy efficiency of the society. New types of working have increased the energy consumption in the past few years. However, rigorous structural changes of the physical and virtual infrastructure of the society (buildings, transport and IT systems) have the potential by using these new parameter to increase the energy efficiency of the society. The conducted studies in this research project analyzed the energetic structures of typical service companies consisting of residential and office buildings, transport and IT systems and evaluated the potentials to increase the efficiency. External experts in the area of sociology, transportation and IT were involved.


      Mehr Info

    • The Role of Tall Buildings in the Sustainability of European Cities



      This research project examined as to what extent high rise buildings can contribute to a reduction of the consumption of land, resources and energy by increasing the urban density and as a result improve the sustainable development of cities. The results of the conducted study showed that compared to typical European urban structures, a significant increase in density can be achieved through high vertical structures taking into consideration the necessary distances between buildings for sufficient natural daylight as well as increasing building cores with greater heights of the building. A significant potential to increase the overall energy efficiency (transport, infrastructure, buildings) depending on the structure of the building and the services could be identified. Possibilities to optimize the energetic behavior of high rise buildings was examined within the scope of case studies.



      Mehr Info


 / E

LV 159.801 - Master - Elective Course

Energy Design

Prof. Brian Cody, Dipl. Ing. Alexander Eberl





“Terrassenhaussiedlung 2.0 – Re(dis)covering Utopia”


In the summer semester 2017, the course will take place in context of the interdisciplinary research project “SONTE“, which focuses on the holistic renovation of the modernist housing estate “Terrassenhaussiedlung” in Graz.


In this semester we will focus on the topic of thermal refurbishment and develop suitable refurbishment strategies for individual residential units of the “Terrassenhaussiedlung”.

Students will work both individually and in groups. Ongoing results will be presented, discussed and developed during the seminars. Final results will be summarized, illustrated and compiled in a book.


Within the framework of the course, a field trip to the housing estate, as well as several guest lectures and guest reviews will take place. This semester, the course will be held in German.


Time schedule:

Tue 14.03.2017, 16:00 – 18:00 : kickoff lecture by Prof. Brian Cody and Alexander Eberl

Wed 15.03.2017, 10:00 - 12:00 : guest lecture by architect Eugen Gross, Werkgruppe Graz

Wed 22.03.2017, 10:00 - 12:00 : fieldtrip to Terrassenhaussiedlung, Graz

Thu 26.04.2017: symposium with guest lectures on the topic, details to be announced



Werkgruppe Graz

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