This project deals with the topic of waste heat as an energy resource and is seen as a contribution to the discussion on how to handle energy and social responsibility. Point of departure for the concept was the construction of Mellach II gas-fired power plant in the south of Graz in 2010, which discharges most of its waste heat to the River Mur and the atmosphere. “Styrian Common Land Co-operative (Allmende Styria)” is located on a 140-hectare site near Mellach power plant, an area larger than Graz city centre. The extent of the area reflects the amount of unused thermal energy. In view of that problem, the project investigates new alternative modes of utilising waste heat and seeks to integrate those new uses in local energy production and infrastructure. Focussing on micro narratives, the project presents a multitude of smaller initiatives and practices that unite to form a hybrid structure, as opposed to a mono-functional macrostructure. As an ecologically managed organisation, the Styrian common land co-operative is committed to public welfare and is embedded within a synergetic network of neighbouring communities and landscapes. Regional raw materials such as timber and cuttings are used as energy sources, but are also converted into utilisable sources of energy. Moreover, the co-operative sees itself as an initiative to promote regional food and energy production in Styria. Likewise, the co-operative offers food to the annual food calendar of local fruits and crops that would otherwise have to be imported from distant countries. In an analogy to “watershed”, i.e. the catchment area of a watercourse between watersheds, it proposes the development of an “energy shed” as a regional power supply of algae and Styrian timber and a “food shed” as a regional supply of foodstuffs, in order to both counteract the global transportation of food and to revive regional identity.

Project duration:
2010 — 2013

Project management:
Institute of Architecture and Landscape, TU Graz

terrain: architekten und landschaftsarchitekten PartG, Graz/München
Institute of Process and Particle Engineering, TU Graz

To top