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KARIN - Reseach and Innovation Center

Award category
Shaping a circular industrial ecosystem and supporting life-cycle thinking
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NEW EUROPEAN BAUHAUS RISING STARS: concepts or ideas submitted by young talents (aged 30 or less)
Project title
KARIN - Reseach and Innovation Center
Full concept/idea title
Center for collaboration, innovation and research on climate change, energy sources and ecomobility

KARIN will connect the public with high excellence research and lead into a sustainable future.
Turning an old and unused industrial building into a modern research center for everyone, KARIN will be a leading example of a circular industrial ecosystem and sustainable building. Now sealed surfaces will be converted into lawns and gardens aiming for a 100% green building. It's athmosphere and opportunities will stimulate cooperation and development of solutions for a more sustainable environment!

What is the geographical scope of your concept/idea?
Trentino - South Tyrol
Friuli - Venezia Giulia
Center Slovenia
Does your concept/idea address mainly urban or rural issues?
Mainly rural
Does your concept/idea refer to a physical transformation of the built environment or other types of transformations?
It refers to a physical transformation of the built environment ('hard investment')
Has your concept/idea benefited from EU programmes and/or funds?
Has your concept/idea won an EU prize?
How did you hear about the New European Bauhaus Prizes ?
On whose behalf are you submitting the application?
As an individual in partnership with other persons
Please provide a summary of your concept/ idea

The main purpose of KARIN is to be a research center open to everyone and every study concerning climate change, energy awareness and environment friendly mobility in a modern surrounding.

KARIN is located in a valley in the beautiful alpine mountains, in a village that is a leading example of sustainable living. Locals are eager to find innovative ways to reduce the carbon footprint and develop new technologies. With their own power supply company, only using green energy coming from renewable sources like windmills, hydroelectric power stations and solar plants, the village is seen as the perfect location for a sustainable building.

KARIN will renovate an old industrial building that has not been used in the past few years into a modern and leading example of sustainable building. One of the main goals was to battle the increase of sealed surfaces and turn a now sealed area into a then green one. Concrete pathways will be reduced to the minimum needed, lawns and natural pathways will surround the new center, gardens will be installed with the aim to create destress spots for workers and habitats for bees and other insects and all roof surfaces will be vegetated in different forms.

Connected to the railway with its’ own private tracks, it is predestined for research on and development of train-related systems and new products. Yet it is surely not limited on that research. Equipped with workshops, laboratories or just office spaces KARIN is open to any kind of research and development work. It even holds the possibility to reserve part of the building for oneself which gives the opportunity to privately work on revolutionary products.

However, a perfect work surrounding is not enough to fulfil highest standards. Apart from all of the above fulfilling the workers needs beyond their job was highly considered in the planning process. The restaurant, serving local and healthy food, the inbuilt gym and the vast outside areas round off the perfect work-life-balan

Please indicate the main themes of your concept/idea with 5 key words
sustainable future
open to everyone
connecting people
100% green building
work-life balance
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of environmental sustainability (including circularity) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

KARINs’ sustainable concept is based on energy-saving construction and operation, vast green areas and preserving resources, especially water and energy as outlined in the following paragraphs:

  • Despite the special climatic conditions in the Gailtal, with large loads on the roof surfaces due to snow in winter of up to 5.56 kN/m², timber construction is primarily used.
  • Open spaces are designed as green areas, which, by means of "year-round green planting", prevent rainwater from being immediately drained. Instead it is being collected, temporarily stored and reused for irrigation. The construction area thus works as example for reducing sealed surfaces to a minimum.
  • We address the need for long term, life-cycle thinking in the industrial ecosystem by replacing an old industrial hall, which currently seals 22,500m² with KARIN. Thereby reducing the sealed areas to less than 500m², i.e. approx. 2%, through planting vegetation on roof and terrace areas. Indoor gardens compensate this to 0% sealing.
  • Mobility is primarily handled using micro-e-mobility (e-bikes, e-scooters). Special attention is paid to rail transport for commute to and from KARIN. For this purpose, a separate traffic concept is being drawn up.
  • A solar plant and electricity obtained exclusively from renewable energy sources in the valley ensure energy self-sufficiency.
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of aesthetics and quality of experience beyond functionality and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

Industrial buildings are often restricted to meet technical requirements, but do not consider aesthetics. We, as architects, do not see our job fulfilled by just providing technical need, but aim for KARIN to fit in and add positively to the natural landscape.

Characteristically for alpine regions is the way how the harsh peaks turn to soft hill structures running down into the valleys, anthropogenic structures blurring into natural woods creating unity between humans and nature. KARIN picks up on that concept with gently curved terraces and glass fronts.

Furthermore, KARIN is more than a workplace. It pays particular attention to the work-life-balance. A well-thought-out concept includes:

  • an inbuilt gym to maintain physical health
  • vast outside areas including lawns and gardens providing space to destress and collect your thoughts
  • a childcare facility
  • common rooms to get together and reflect on each other’s work
Please give information about the key objectives of your concept/idea in terms of inclusion (equal opportunities, public participation, citizen engagement, co-design, universal design, accessibility, affordability, etc.) and how these would be met.
Please highlight how the concept/idea can be exemplary in this context

KARIN is an research or development center open ot all!

It is designed to invite people from all over, creating space for transnational communication and collaboration.

Since KARIN is connected with the railway system and located in a valley with a high level of tourist activity,
the opportunity is seized and an event center for seminars and meetings is also housed within the building.

Moreover, a model railway system is set up as an extension of a training facility for dispatchers.This will be used to attract tourists to pay a visit.

Guided tours and hands-on activities will raise awareness on the topics researched, such as climate change, sustainability, renewable energies, environmental friendly transport and more.

Please explain how these three dimensions would be combined in your concept/idea.
Please highlight how this approach can be exemplary

In the planning process of KARIN we equally considered and combined sustainability, aesthetics and inclusion. These three dimensions are therefore to be found in every aspect of the building and functionality making it impossible to summarize this in few words. Thus we will outline the core aspects in following examples:

  • Sustainability & Inclusion:
    Instead of choosing a new location, an old now unused industrial building is turned into a modern research center. As this new building is open to everyone the aspect of inclusion is covered here.
  • Sustainability & Aesthetic:
    KARIN with its soft shaped terraces imitating natural valley structures blends gently into the landscape. Only environmentally friendly building materials and construction methods – primarily timber – are used.
  • Aesthetic & Inclusion:
    The gardens and soft shaped green terraces create new habitats for wild animals, mainly bees and insects. Meeting areas and reflection zones open to everyone ensure the inclusion, equality, and affordable accessibility of KARIN. 
Please highlight the innovative character of the concept/idea as compared to mainstream practices in the field of the concept/idea.
  • The physical transformation of a sealed area into 100% green building: KARIN is geared towards 0% sealing. In particular, an otherwise derelict industrial ruin will be transformed into a green "living" object.
  • "Back to Nature" as guiding theme for work, research and cooperation: KARIN shows that working in a pleasant environment is more than a 9 to 5 job. The atmosphere, visual aesthetics of the building, year-round green vegetation, sunny work areas and features that go beyond the work environment including relaxation and reflection zones, gym, kindergarten and indoor green zones motivate and stimulate workers.
  • KARIN enables the inclusion of all age groups and educational levels in the research of new approaches in the fields of climate and environmental protection, energy transition and ecological mobility without restrictions. Barrier-free access and affordable working conditions for individuals, pre-school groups, schools and colleges, universities and even industry.
  • KARIN connects research, industry and tourism and thus the exchange between each group.
  • The primary wooden construction combines aesthetics, sustainability and ambience in a building that meets the special climatic requirements.
  • KARIN pays special attention to the railway transport offering a 300m railway workshop hall and ideal surrounding to new developments in public and goods transport on rail using e-mobility, hydrogen and other renewable energy sources.
  • As a special feature, KARIN offers ideal conditions for the development of new electrically powered rolling stock providing a 30 km long track thourhgout the valley with all kinds of railway track conditions.
Please detail the general plans that you have for the further development, promotion and/or implementation of your concept/idea.

KARIN has already been presented to various institutions and has received very positive feedback.

In particular, the "unsealing" and renaturation of an old industrial hall was positively mentioned.

A website is planned to be set up with the aim to promote the concept of KARIN and find investors and/or necessary funding.

Not only in the valley itself, but beyond that, KARIN acts as a "lighthouse" for a new and innovative approach to research, the exchange of experiences and general cooperation. To support a possible implementation, we participate in a working group together with political and industrial stakeholder. Attempts are also being made to obtain funds from the EU recovery fund or other other sources for this project.

Negotiations are also being held with scientific partners and with partners representing the energy industry and the railway system.

The goals of KARIN are further deepened and refined in school projects, diploma theses and internships.

Imagine that your idea/concept is awarded in the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022. What kind of initiatives would you take throughout the following year (June 2022- June 2023)

Should our idea receive an award, it would be an enormous motivation and source of strength for efforts to turn this idea into reality.

In case of success the following initiatives would be taken:

  • Reaching out to the government and relevant government circles. It should be noted that the agendas for innovation and technology are currently being held by a minister from the green party and fully support the objectives of the New European Bauhaus.
  • Together with representatives of the communities concerned we will continue to try to find funding in order to being able to actually build KARIN.
  • Holding presentations and initiating discussions.
  • Further developing our idea making it a central topic on our further path as architecture students and gardening experts.
By ticking this box, you declare that you are not in in one or more of the exclusion situations foreseen under Article 136 of the Financial Regulation.
By ticking this box, you declare that all the information provided in this form is factually correct, that you assume sole liability in the event of a claim relating to the activities carried out in the framework of the contest, that the proposed concept/idea has not been proposed for the New European Bauhaus Prizes 2022 in any other category or strand and that it has not been subject to any type of investigation, which could lead to a financial correction because of irregularities or fraud.
By submitting your application, you guarantee that you are the author or have the rights to proceed with the application and to authorise the use of the project, concept, idea, and that you have obtained any necessary consents, licenses or assignments from third parties and included copyright notices when necessary.
By submitting your application, you understand that all the applications that meet the eligibility requirements will be shared for the purposes of the selection processes, and notably published on the secured platform and for the purposes of the promotion of these on the New European Bauhaus website and/or other European Commission communication channels. In this sense, the applications would be widely available. Applicants should ensure that they present their ideas, concepts, projects, in such a way that they could be shared without giving rise to intellectual property related concerns. If your submission is selected as one of the finalists, it will additionally be shared for the purpose of the public vote that will take place. The European Union is granted a licence to use and share your application with the general public and the official external experts for the purposes of the selection process, including the voting. The European Union has the right to use the images and visual materials and the description provided in the application for communication purposes related to the contest and beyond. Rights granted comprise the right to store, reproduce, display, publish and communicate or distribute copies in electronic or digital format, including, but not only, through the internet. Unless you have disclosed your name, the European Commission has no obligation to share your name when using or disseminating your contribution to the public. The European Union cannot be held responsible in case any submitted idea, project, concept is found to infringe third parties rights. The European Union shall be neither responsible for the use that third parties may do of the applications or related content.


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