Transformation as innovation

TRANSFORM is the only research institute in Switzerland to adopt transformation as its innovation theme, even though half of all professional contracts entail a transformation of some kind. TRANSFORM therefore plays a critical role in bridging the gap between academic research and professional practice.

Transformation can be understood as change, adaptation, optimization, variation, evolution and transition. Transformation projects come in a variety of forms, including renovations, restorations, extensions, conversions and redevelopments. What all of these forms have in common is the emphasis on giving value to what already exists.


The TRANSFORM institute focuses on transforming habitable space in ways that integrate innovative processes and technologies while preserving heritage and cultural value.

TRANSFORM has the goal of establishing a dynamic equilibrium between the competing demands of habitable space, technical progress, and the human factor, while integrating an optimal use of available means and resources.

Core competences

The TRANSFORM institute plays a key role in transformations of the built environment, acting as a link between fundamental research, professional practice and industrial production. Current and future standards of safety, sustainability and energy efficiency require that intelligent, reliable, and low-consumption systems be implemented.

Our highly-qualified research team consists of architects, urban planners, engineers, historians, geographers, physicists, anthropologists and artists. Their diverse areas of competence make it possible to have a transdisciplinary approach on every project as well as expert knowledge at every stage, from the individual building to the neighborhood, village and city scales.

The TRANSFORM institute is a member of the Smart Living Lab, a research and development center dedicated to developing of the habitats of tomorrow.

Research Areas

Structural and territorial heritage

  • Adaptations that preserve heritage
  • Designing transformations of urban or rural areas that are respectful of their identity

Architecture and energy

  • Integration of innovative technologies in building construction
  • Promoting the use of simple construction processes
  • Design methods that minimize damage from construction

Place-user interactions

  • Defining the right architectural typology for every user profile
  • Designing spaces to accommodate new or special needs as well as health conditions
  • Active monitoring of new construction materials.
  • Case studies
  • Process analysis
  • Project evaluation (both technical and social)
  • A wide range of other services for projects ranging from single buildings to urban planning


Séréna Vanbutsele
Full Professor UAS/Institute Head


+41 26 429 68 76


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