Thomas Auer & Stefan Behnisch

Lost in Transformation | The Ahmad Tehrani Symposium

In order to get to a carbon neutral building stock – which is e.g. required by the EU Carbon roadmap by 2050  – our efforts need to be smart and holistic on all scales of design. At the same time it is essential that a transformation process provide great environmental qualities – indoor as well as outdoor (public realm). This requires mitigation and adaptation strategies, which can only be accomplished by transforming the design process: “Form Follows Process” (Chris Bangle, chief of design at BMW between 1992 and 2009). Integrated design strategies and a performance driven design process is the basis to find answers on the question how the challenges of our time will transform and change our built environment. A transformation, which needs to be radical to achieve a full de-carbonization of our building stock and to provide a highly comfortable. However, to be convincing as a profession we need to be aspirational and at the same time inspirational. The level of aspiration must be determined by research, whereas exemplary lighthouse projects should inspire the industry and the public. 

Thomas Auer & Stefan Behnisch

Transsolar & Behnisch Architekten

Thomas Auer is trained as a process engineer. He is director of Transsolar, an engineering firm with offices in Stuttgart, Munich, Paris and New York. He collaborated with distinguished architects on numerous international design projects. He is a specialist in energy efficiency and environmental quality. Thomas taught at various universities around the world; since 2014 he is full Professor at the Technical University of Munich with a focus in bridging research and environmental design. His research is focusing on the transformation of the built environment as a process to reduce the use of resources and to adapt to the changing conditions caused by global warming.

Stefan Behnisch, born 1957 in Stuttgart, studied philosophy, economics and architecture. Prior to establishing his own practice in 1989, he worked as an architect at Behnisch & Partner, the practice run by his father, Prof. Günter Behnisch. Stefan Behnisch’s firm, since 2005 called Behnisch Architekten, became independent in 1991 and expanded in the years ahead, opening offices in Los Angeles (1999-2011), Boston and Munich, which he directs together with his partners. Stefan Behnisch is a frequent lecturer and guest professor. Among others, he has been the Eero Saarinen Chair visiting professor at the Yale School of Architecture, Visiting Professor at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland, at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque and at the TU Delft, The Netherlands. In 2007 he received a Global Award for Sustainable Architecture, and in 2009 a Good Design Award in the category “People” presented by the Chicago Athenaeum and the European Centre for Architecture Art Design and Urban Studies. In 2013 Stefan Behnisch received the “Energy Performance + Architecture Award”. He is a member of the BDA, the RIBA, the NCARB and the AIA.