Shopping the Future

algorithmic design of retail environments. (wissensch. Bericht)

W.E. Lorenz, G. Wurzer, S. Swoboda. Shop Design ist das Produkt aus Marketing, wirtschaftlichem Kalkül, Kommunikation und der Gestaltung von Räumen. ...


Webdesign für arztwerbung24 – ein Service der Computer Projects Unlimited .

follow up bricks are landing

algorithmic design of bricks pavilion. (Stegreifentwerfen)

W Lorenz, S. Swoboda, G. Wurzer. Das Stegreifentwerfen ‚follow up: bricks are landing‘ versteht sich als thematische Fortsetzung des kleinen Entwerfens ‚bricks are landing‘ (259.471), das im Wintersemester 2017 stattgefunden hat. ...

Japan Exkursion 2016

Japan Exkursion 22.03.-10.04.2016 (book) A. Faller, W.E. Lorenz (Hrg.). Mit Beiträgen der Teilnehmer der Exkursion nach "japan" (2016).
ISBN: 978-3-9504464-0-1

Das Buch beschreibt in einzelnen Kapiteln die vom Institut Architektur-wissenschaften, Digitale Architektur und Raumplanung, organisierte Exkursion nach Japan aus dem Jahr 2016. ...

A Cell-based Method to Support Hospital Refurbishment

enviBUILD2017 - Buildings and Environment - From Research to Application. (paper & talk)

G. Wurzer, U. Coraglia, U. Pont, C. Weber, W Lorenz, A. Mahdavi. Hospital refurbishments often take place in parallel to regular operation, resulting in a scheduling problem: Construction activities must be located such as they do not clash with daily work activities and vice versa. ...


Fractal Aesthetics in Architecture

Journal Paper, in Applied Mathematics & Information Sciences (AMIS)

Wolfgang E. Lorenz, Jan Andres und Georg Franck
Vienna; Austria

Keywords: Architectural analysis, design analysis, fractal geometry,
complexity, harmonic proportion, construct/constituent pairing, box-counting.

June, 2017, Vienna & Olomouce


This paper deals with fractal aesthetics and proposes a new fractal analysis method for the perceptual study of architecture. The authors believe in the universality of formulas and aim to complement the architectural description in terms of proportion. Although a well established fractal analysis method to describe the complexity of facades across different scales already exists, box-counting is imprecise because of too many in?uences coming along with the method itself. The authors consider the self-similarity as an important part of aesthetic quality in architecture. This is due to the fact that it describes a concept of consistency that holds everything together from the whole to the smallest detail which refers to the classical meaning of the word symmetry. Hence, a new fractal analysis method is introduced which so far has been applied to quantitative linguistics. Basically, elements of different order, called construct/constituent pairs, are counted and related in a formula. In architecture the pairing consists of likewise elements belonging to different orders, from the overview, the fundamental elements to the smaller details. As a conjecture, some preferable fractal dimensions (from the aesthetical point of view) are proposed for architectural structures.

FRACAM – Cell Phone Application to Measure Box Counting Dimension

Talk and Proceeding: CAADRIA; Protocols, Flows and Glitches, (Suzhou, China, 2017)

Gabriel Wurzer und Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

Keywords: Fractal analysis; Differential Box-counting; Fractal dimension;
Cell phone application.

March, 2017, Vienna


There are two kinds of algorithms: those that are ‘better’ with respect to accuracy and those that are ‘faster’. In the past, fractal analysis by means of box-counting - including both, binary and greyscale analysis - has been focused on the former. In our work, however, we want to aim at the second category: algorithms that are fast and easy to use, without losing view on significance. To this end we have devised a cell phone application which let users grasp and analyse photographs regarding the box-counting dimension of e.g. facades. The application includes two measurement methods for binary images, based on threshold conversions, and one for greyscale images. Accuracy has been tested on deterministic fractals with known fractal dimension. As a matter of fact we are able to produce what was formerly constraint to scientific implementations or discourse on every day’s hardware.

Complexity across scales in the work of Le Corbusier - Using box-counting as a method for analysing facades

Talk and Proceeding: CAADence in Architecture; Back to command, (Budapest, Hungary, 2016)

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

June, 2016, Vienna


Since Benoît Mandelbrot raised the question about the length of Britain’s coastline in 1967, it has become obvious that fractal geometry is appropriate for describing irregular forms. In 1996 Carl Bovill applied box-counting, a fractal analysis method, for the first time to architecture in order to quantify the characteristic visual complexity of facades. This paper presents an approach utilizing fractal analysis to provide another view on Le Corbusier’s architectural composition. Altogether 17 house designs are considered, 14 of them have been built between 1916 (Schwob Villa) and 1928 (Savoye House). Throughout this paper an implementation of the box-counting method written by the author is used. Besides discussing the results, the implementation itself with its advantages and disadvantages is explored.

Measurability of Loos' rejection of the ornament - Using box-counting as a method for analysing facades

Talk and Proceeding: The 32nd International Conference on Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe; Fusion, (Newcastle upon Tyne 2014)

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

September, 2014, Vienna


As evidence from recent years has demonstrated, box-counting provides an objective fractal analytical method to evaluate the visual complexity of architecture. This paper for the first time explores the potential of box-counting with regard to the work of the Viennese architect Adolf Loos (1870-1933). Loos is seen as the pioneer of modern architecture, as someone who anticipated the International Style. This impression derives from his resentments towards the ornament, expressed especially in his texts. However, Loos did not reject ornamentation in general. Thus, the group of smooth plastered facades provides a narrowed view on his overall architectural concept. A more differentiated view on Loos' oeuvre is not new; however, the author further develops the possibilities of describing facades geometrically by using an implementation of the fractal analytical method, especially created for facades. This paper not only focuses on the possibility of grouping facades with similar characteristic values, but considers other aspects of Loos' design such as space as well.


Fraktalähnliche Architektur - Einteilung und Messbarkeit: Ein Programm in VBA für AutoCAD

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

Begutachter/in(nen): G. Franck, H. Pottmann; E259.1 Institut für Architekturwissenschaften; Digitale Architektur und Raumplanung, 2014; Rigorosum: 14.01.2014.

also see: Publication Database of the TU Vienna

January, 2014, Vienna


This thesis investigates to what extent the fractal geometry is suitable for characterizing architecture. It describes the benefits of such an approach as opposed to a description by means of Euclidean geometry (which we have been familiar with for more than two thousand years). In this context, buildings of different epochs are examined to determine whether the characteristics of fractals occur and subject to which restrictions such a point of view is possible at all. The focus lies on the International Modern (International Style) that is in most cases called 'smooth` and a fractal-like organic architecture. The final analysis of facades is carried out by means of the so-called box-counting method. This method has been implemented by the author in a CAD program. The studies indicate a possible categorization of architecture on the basis of fractal geometry. In addition to the box-counting dimension this comprises a definite range of scales and the coefficient of determination.

Combining complexity and harmony by the box-counting method: A comparison between entrance façades of the Pantheon in Rome and Il Redentore by Palladio

Talk and Proceeding: The 31st International Conference on Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe; Computation and Performance, (Delft 2013)

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

September, 2013, Vienna


When Benoît Mandelbrot raised the question about the length of Britain’s coastline in 1967, this was a major step towards formulating the theory of fractals, which also led to a new understanding of irregularity in nature. Since then it has become obvious that fractal geometry is more appropriate for describing complex forms than traditional Euclidean geometry (not only with regard to natural systems but also in architecture). This paper provides another view on architectural composition, following the utilization of fractal analysis. The procedure concerning the exploration of a façade design is demonstrated step by step on the Roman temple front of the Pantheon by Appolodorus and its re-interpretation – in the particular case the entrance front of Il Redentore, a Renaissance church by Palladio. Their level of complexity and range of scales that offer coherence are visualized by the specific measurement method of boxcounting.

Estimating the Fractal Dimension of Architecture: Using two Measurement Methods implemented in AutoCAD by VBA

Talk and Proceeding: The 30th International Conference on Education and research in Computer Aided Architectural Design in Europe; Digital Physicality | Physical Digitality, (Prague 2012)

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

Keywords: Box-Counting Method; Range Analysis; Hurst-Exponent; Analyzing Architecture; Scalebound and Scaling objects.

September, 2012, Vienna


The concept of describing and analyzing architecture from a fractal point of view, on which this paper is based, can be traced back to Benoît Mandelbrot (1981) and Carl Bovill (1996) to a considerable extent. In particular, this includes the distinction between scalebound (offering a limited number of characteristic elements) and scaling objects (offering many characteristic elements of scale) made by B. Mandelbrot (1981). In the fi rst place such a differentiation is based upon a visual description. This paper explores the possibility of assistance by two measurement methods, fi rst time introduced to architecture by C. Bovill (1996). While the box-counting method measures or more precisely estimates the box-counting dimension D b of objects (e.g. facades), range analysis examines the rhythm of a design. As CAD programs are familiar to architects during design processes, the author implemented both methods in AutoCAD using the scripting language VBA. First measurements indicate promising results for indicating the distinction between what B. Mandelbrot called scalebound and scaling buildings.

Fractal Geometry of Architecture: Fractal Dimension as a Connection Between Fractal Geometry and Architecture

in "Biomimetics -- Materials, Structures and Processes: Examples, Ideas and Case Studies"; Gruber, P.; Bruckner, D.; Hellmich, C.; Schmiedmayer, H.-B.; Stachelberger, H.; Gebeshuber, I.C. (Eds.); Springer; (2011); S.179-200; herausgegeben von BMVIT

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

June, 2011, Vienna


In Fractals smaller parts and the whole are linked together. Fractals are self-similar, as those parts are, at least approximately, scaled-down copies of the rough whole. In architecture, such a concept has also been known for a long time. Not only architects of the twentieth century called for an overall idea that is mirrored in every single detail, but also Gothic cathedrals and Indian temples offer self-similarity. This study mainly focuses upon the question whether this concept of self-similarity makes architecture with fractal properties more diverse and interesting than Euclidean Modern architecture. The first part gives an introduction and explains Fractal properties in various natural and architectural objects, presenting the underlying structure by computer programmed renderings. In this connection, differences between the fractal, architectural concept and true, mathematical Fractals are worked out to become aware of limits. This is the basis for dealing with the problem whether fractal-like architecture, particularly facades, can be measured so that different designs can be compared with each other under the aspect of fractal properties. Finally the usability of the Box-Counting Method, an easy-to-use measurement method of Fractal Dimension is analyzed with regard to architecture.

Fractal Geometry of Architecture: Implementation of the Box-Counting Method in a CAD-software

Talk and Proceeding: 27th eCAADe CONFERENCE; Computation: The new Realm of Architectural Design, (Istanbul 2009)

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

Keywords: Fractal Architecture; Box-Counting Dimensions of Façades; Visual Perception; Implementation in a CAD-software.

October, 2009, Vienna


The author describes the basic principles for measuring architecture from the point of view of Fractal Geometry outlining the principle connections between Fractal Geometry and architecture, giving some examples and explaining the Box-Counting Method, which is an easily manageable method that can be applied to elevations. The paper not only deals with problems arising from using the Box-Counting Method but also with its relation to visual perception. It shows how the Box-Counting Dimension DB of façades can be measured with the help of a software program that was written by the author and has been implemented into AutoCAD. Finally, results of different configurations are given for the Koch curve and Robie House by Frank Lloyd Wright, showing the accuracy of this measurement method.

Die Fraktale Dimension als Verbindung zwischen Fraktaler Geometrie und Architektur

in "Bionik: Innovation & Qualifikation", (2010); S.92; herausgegeben von BMVIT

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

December 7th, 2008, Vienna

Initial Point – Fractional Architecture.

Wenn von fraktaler Architektur gesprochen wird, so sind bestimmte, den Fraktalen inhärente Eigenschaften gemeint, die sich in eingeschränkter Form auch an Gebäuden erschließen. Die uns umgebende Natur besteht nicht aus glatten Elementen, wie sie die euklidische Geometrie kennt, sondern aus unterschiedlich stark zerklüfteten Objekten. In ähnlicher Form sind Gebäude auf Grund verschiedener Aus- und Einschnitte, Überlagerung von Bauteilen aber auch bedingt durch Materialoberflächen nicht glatt, sie weisen vielmehr unterschiedliche Komplexität auf. ...

Fractal Geometry and Architectonic Quality

Talk and Proceeding: First International Conference on Fractal Foundations for 21st Century Architecture and Environmental Design, Madrid; 25.03.2004 - 27.03.2004; in: "First International Conference on Fractal Foundor 21st Century Architecture and Environmental Designations f", (Madrid 2004)

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

January 13th, 2004, Vienna


My paper deals with the question if there is a connection between architectonic quality and characteristics of architec¬tonic form which can be described by fractal geometry – taking up and continuing Carl Bovill’s ideas on the topic.
This will be investigated thoroughly in two respects. First the existence of fractal characteristics (self-similarity, ruggedness and iteration) is  studied in works of archi¬tecture that are commonly regarded as outstan¬ding examples such as buildings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Bruce Goff, Gerrit Rietveld or Steven Holl. In the course of that process, various distan¬ces and levels of scale are examined.
The second approach is based on measuring the fractal dimension of architectural drawings by using the ‘box-counting method’ on different levels of scale. Factors influencing the diffe¬rent parameters of this method of measurement are studied.
The hypothesis is put forward that a connection between the fractal characteristics of form and quality exists, which determines architectural rank. The paper also deals with the difficulties of verifying such a hypothesis and if esthetical quality can be described by formal methods at all.

Fractals and Fractal Architecture

Talk and Poster: archdiploma 2003, Kunsthalle Project Space, Wien; 07.10.2003; in: "archdiploma 2003", (Vienna 2003), S. 94 - 95

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

February, 2003, Vienna

Fractals and Fractal Architecture.

Euclidean geometry with its perfect "clinical" shapes of cones, pyramids, cubes and spheres, is not the best way to describe natural objects. Fractal geometry, as opposed to Euclidean, offers better methods for description or for producing similar nature-like objects. The language expressing it is called algorithms. Complex objects can be reduced to simpler formulas or transformation rules. The "new" geometry may help us to understand and analyse complexity that can be found in medieval towns but also in cathedrals and other contemporary man-made objects. It may also help us to transfer this complexity, which also arises from the development over time, to newly planned cities and buildings.

Fractal attributes can be found anywhere from coastlines to clouds, mountains, trees, plants, ... and in architecture. Fractals are used as a tool in many fields ranging from medicine to economy.

Fractals and Fractal Architecture

Master Thesis

Wolfgang E. Lorenz
Vienna; Austria

Betreuer: G. Franck; E259-1, 2003

"... Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth ..." [Mandelbrot Benoit B., Dr. Zähle Ulrich (editor of the german edition), Die fraktale Geometrie der Natur (1991), Birkhäuser Verlag Berlin, p.13.]

January, 2003, Vienna


This quotation by Mandelbrot shows that the Euclidean geometry - the perfect “clinical” shapes of cones, pyramids, cubes and spheres - is not the best way to describe natural objects. Clouds, mountains, coastlines and bark are all in contrast to Euclidean figures not smooth but rugged and they offer the same irregularity in smaller scales, which are some important characteristics of fractals - see chapter “2.2 Characteristics”. As the following pages indicate, fractal geometry, in opposition to Euclidean geometry, offers better methods for description or for producing similar natural-like objects respectively. The language in which it is expressed is called “algorithms”, by which complex objects like a fern or a cloud can be reduced to simpler formulas or transformation rules respectively. Fractals can be found everywhere from coastlines, border-lines and other natural rough lines to clouds, mountains, trees, plants, ... and maybe also in architecture. The following chapters explain what a fractal is in general and how fractals can be used for architectural analysis and in the stage of planning. Fractals are used as a helping tool for explanation in many fields ranging from medicine to economy. From this point of view fractals should not be excluded from architecture.

master thesis