Morphosis Hypo Alpe-Adria Center project records

Morphosis Hypo Alpe-Adria Center project records

Part of


  • Morphosis Architects (archive creator)
  • Morphosis Architects (architectural firm)
  • Thom Mayne (architect)
  • John A. Enright (project architect)
  • Sylvia Kuhle (project architect)


Morphosis Hypo Alpe-Adria Center project records

Dates of creation

1996 - 2016


  • archives

Level of archival description


Extent and Medium

  • approximately 14,100 digital files (10.3 GB)

Scope and Content

The Morphosis Hypo Alpe-Adria Center project records, 1996 – 2016, consists of over 14,000 born-digital files that document the design and construction of the Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank group’s headquarters in Klagenfurt, Austria. The majority of the records date from 1996 to 2003.

Hypo Alpe-Adria Bank commissioned Morphosis to build its new headquarters and community space, based on the office’s winning entry to an invited competition. Morphosis used CAD and 3D modelling software to impose a new landscape in an expanding city that was reaching out into more rural, agricultural areas. The design merges a 3D-modelled sphere with the existing topography to create a new landform; the surrounding street axes were drawn into the site, carving out pedestrian paths and acting as forces to shape the building’s mass. Perforated aluminum screens and angled planes of glass negotiate the resulting positive and negative spaces. The east towers’ system of intersecting planes is an early example of translating multifaceted constructions from digital to real space.

The records are split into two series which document the two major phases of the project: design and construction. Series 1, Competition and design, includes files showing early conceptualization of the project, the competition entry, presentation boards, and iterations of the design through the final design documentation. Series 2, Construction documentation, largely contains drawings in CAD formats and photographs which demonstrate the progress of the project in the built environment over time.

Formats chiefly include CAD drawings (PowerCAD, PowerDraw, Microstation, DXF, AutoCAD, PLT), which make up approximately 7000 files in this fonds. There are also more than 200 3D models in Form*Z and STL formats. Other formats include almost a thousand image files (JPEG, TIFF, PICT) and a limited amount of textual documentation (Microsoft Excel, plain text, Quark XPress).

Reference Number


Physical Description

These project records contain a number of born-digital files in CAD and 3D modeling formats. Due to the complex and often proprietary nature of CAD formats, proper rendering and use of these files may require highly specific software. CCA’s dedicated Study Room CAD workstation is loaded with a wide but incomplete range of such software. For further information about services and software available for interacting with obsolete or niche file formats please contact Collection Reference (ref@cca.qc.ca). These project records have a large number of unidentified files. Files with no extension were created on a Mac computer and are most likely PowerCAD files. Files with the extension .PD6 are PowerDraw files. Both file types were not opened at the time of processing. Files ending with certain file extensions (.bse, .poc, .s01) are native to Microstation. The .bse files are base files containing line drawings, and the .poc and .poc2 files are poché files which layer colors, textures, and patterns over the base files. The .s01 files apply scale to the base files. It is unclear what the files with extensions .dg2 and .v000 are, but they seem to relate to the other Microstation files. The Form*Z files are accessible using Form*Z 6 RenderZone Plus. Some Form*Z files are missing some external references or contain other minor errors.


This fonds is arranged into two series based on the firm’s activities for each phase of the project:

Series 1. Competition and design

Series 2. Construction documentation

Administrative history

Morphosis is an interdisciplinary, international architecture firm based in Los Angeles, California. Named after the Greek term for 'to form or be in formation', the firm was founded in 1972 by architect, Thom Mayne. Morphosis’s work features experimental forms and ranges in scale from residential, institutional, and civic buildings to large urban planning projects, as well as the design of functional objects and furniture.

Notable projects include: Diamond Ranch High School (Pamona, 1999); the Hypo Alpe-Adria Center (Klagenfurt, 2002); Caltrans District 7 Headquarters (Los Angeles, 2005); the Copper Union building (New York, 2009); Phare Tower (Paris, 2012, unbuilt); and Emerson College (Los Angeles, 2014).

Morphosis has won some of the profession’s highest honors, including twenty-five Progressive Architecture awards and over a hundred awards from the American Institute of Architects (AIA). The firm’s work has been exhibited in museums globally, including the Canadian Centre for Architecture, the Netherlands Architecture Institute, and the Centre Georges Pompidou. Mayne has won the Pritzker Architecture Prize (2005) and the AIA Gold Medal (2013).

Conditions governing access

  • Digital material can only be accessed on-site. Please contact Reference at ref@cca.qc.ca for more information. Access by appointment only.

Conditions governing reproduction

  • Morphosis retains copyright for all materials in these project records and must approve all reproductions intended for publication. Please contact the CCA at reproductions@cca.qc.ca for further information.

Immediate source of acquisition or transfer

  • Gift of Morphosis on 16 October 2015.

Custodial history

The files in this archive were sent to CCA directly from the firm’s office on a USB thumbdrive. The files had previously been stored as backups on CD-Rs, and were copied from these CDs onto Morphosis’ servers prior to their transfer to CCA.

These records were acquired by CCA as part of the Archaeology of the Digital project. Selected items were displayed in the show Archaeology of the Digital: Complexity and Convention, May-October 2016.

Archivist's note

  • A single-level record for this archive was created by Digital Archivist Tim Walsh in July 2016. Processing, arrangement, and description was completed by Digital Processing Archivist Stefana Breitwieser in May - June 2018.

Credit line

When citing the collection as a whole, use the citation:
Morphosis Hypo Alpe-Adria Center project records,
Collection Centre Canadien d’Architecture/
Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal.
When citing specific collection material, please refer to the object’s specific credit line.

Language of material

English, German

Related units of description

  • IFCCA Prize Competition for the Design of Cities fonds, Stage II Jury, Morphosis. Canadian Centre for Architecture. 1999. https://www.cca.qc.ca/en/search/details/collection/object/396603. Lynn, Greg. Morphosis, Hypo Alpe-Adria Center. Montreal: Canadian Centre for Architecture, 2017. Mayne, Thom. Morphosis. London: Phaidon, 2003. Mayne, Thom. Morphosis: Vol. 4. New York: Rizzoli, 2006. Mayne, Thom, Tony Robins and Anthony Vidler. Morphosis: Buildings and projects, 1993-1997. New York: Rizzoli, 1999. Morphosis (electronic resource): recent works. Los Angeles: In-D Press, c2000.

General note

  • Some initial preprocessing was required to fully access the content of this collection. There were two Mac StuffIt archive files and two BIN archives files which were unpackaged using the UnArchiver on the Mac workstation; the original archive files were deleted (along with related resource fork files). Similarly, there were 174 zip files, which were also unzipped; the contents were saved to a subdirectory in place. Detox was used to sanitize file names in order to do so. See collection documentation for further detail. The files were delivered to the CCA with a spreadsheet containing a file tree and directory naming convention, and these provide some context for the received order. An additional file tree was added to the collection documentation during initial pre-processing. The dates in this fonds-level description typically do not include the AppleDouble resource forks, which reflect the time of file transfer to CCA. For some directories, particularly those containing Quark XPress or certain image formats, the command line tool addext was used to append file extensions to files without them. Some Quark XPress files were manually normalized to Quark XPress v.9 or PDF as appropriate.

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