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2024 | Buch

Design for Rethinking Resources

Proceedings of the UIA World Congress of Architects Copenhagen 2023


Über dieses Buch

The book provides new perspectives from leading researchers accentuating and examining the central role of the built environment in conceiving and implementing multifaceted solutions for the complex challenges of our understanding of planetary resources and circularity, revealing critical potentials for architecture and design to contribute in more informed and long-term ways to the urgent transition of our society. The book offers a compilation of peer-reviewed papers that uniquely connects knowledge broadly across practice and academia; from the newest technologies and methods such as the role of digital modelling, analysis, and fabrication in circular design, i.e. material passports, cyber-physical augmentation, and LCA to the potentials of growing and harvesting biomass materials, engaging waste streams in material production and more, all in context of economic, social, and ecological potentials and consequences.

The book is part of a series of six volumes that explore the agency of the built environment in relation to the SDGs through new research conducted by leading researchers. The series is led by editors Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen and Martin Tamke in collaboration with the theme editors:

- Design for Climate Adaptation: Billie Faircloth and Maibritt Pedersen Zari

- Design for Rethinking Resources: Carlo Ratti and Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen (Eds.)

- Design for Resilient Communities: Anna Rubbo and Juan Du (Eds.)

- Design for Health: Arif Hasan and Christian Benimana (Eds.)

- Design for Inclusivity: Magda Mostafa and Ruth Baumeister (Eds.)

- Design for Partnerships for Change: Sandi Hilal and Merve Bedir (Eds.)



Post-extractive Visions

Upcycled Regionalism: The Aesthetics of Geopolymer Concrete

Sometimes the more powerful act is not to make new, but to make anew with what we already have. Since the built environment accounts for around 50% of all raw material extracted from the earth (European Commission 2018), the transition to a circular economy for this industry will require extensive restructuring in terms of resource extraction and production patterns. This paper argues, however, that aesthetics also plays a significant role for rethinking resources. The paper examines the aesthetics of Geopolymer concrete (GPC)—a low carbon sustainable building material based on circular principles—recently developed by the Norwegian start-up company SafeRock. GPC answers the demand for circular economy in the building industry through upcycling of waste. SafeRock announced their first pilot project in 2021, a GPC made with mining residues from the mine Titania in Norway. SafeRock’s GPC is based on on-site production, eliminating both transport emissions and time. Importantly, the site-specificity of the mine becomes an aesthetic quality of GPC surfaces; different waste products from different mines produce different textures and colors. Like a “spolia” for our times, site-specific traces of a modernist paradigm of mass-extraction are aesthetically visible in the upcycled GPC surface. The paper aims to develop a conceptual framework for critical reflection on aesthetics and upcycling of materials. By combining theory from the humanities with examples from architectural practice, the paper introduces the term “upcycled regionalism” to unpack the aesthetic potential of GPC.

Ingrid Halland, Stian Rossi
Post-extractive Material Practice: The Case of Quarried Stone

Humans have extracted materials from the earth for millennia, but only recently have our extraction practices had planetary consequences. The scale, intensity, and violence of current practices are theorized as ‘extractivism’, and as a number of recent publications and exhibitions have made clear, a post-extractive future is urgently needed. How and under what conditions can we address such an imperative? Is it possible to aim toward a pre-modern notion of extraction as a custodial practice of care in relation to earth’s resources? Following recent projects to re-introduce load-bearing stone, known loosely as ‘The New Stone Age’, this argumentative essay explores a post-extractive future through the case of quarried stone. We see it as a poignant case of how we might move from extractivism to a more custodial form of extraction, and show the potential to reduce our need for materials such as steel, concrete, and wood, industries that are driven in large part by extractivist principles. Based on Timothy Morton’s notion of ecological thought, we argue for a new way to understand stone extraction as an ecology of interconnections. On the one hand, great potential emerges in the circularity and reversibility of stone construction, along with its extremely long life cycle, and on the other we see a strong potential to recover the historical connections between architecture and the anthropogenic landscapes of stone extraction. In the end, we position the issue of material extraction within its multifaceted entanglements of landscape, construction, socio-cultural and economic contexts.

Jonathan Foote, Urszula Kozminska, Nikola Gjorgjievski
Towards a Nature-Inspired Bio-digital Platform Powered by Microbes as a Circular Economy Infrastructure in the Practice of the Built Environment

This paper examines the role of microbial technologies in fundamentally rethinking the relationship between waste, energy, human inhabitation, and microbial “life.” Based on the Microbial Fuel Cell (an ecologically “just” platform that provides bioelectrical energy, data, and chemical transformation from human waste streams), a series of transactional systems between humans and microbes are outlined and exemplified by the Living Architecture project, the 999 years 13 m2 (the future belongs to ghosts) installation, and the Active Living Infrastructure: Controlled Environment (ALICE) prototype. These nature-inspired “living” infrastructures comprise a combined utility system capable of forming a domestic circular economy based on the microbial commons—a regenerative, transactional system for ecological regeneration founded on microbial metabolisms—that is accessed, understood, and engaged using a bio-digital interface. These simultaneously “sustainable” and “smart” demonstrators substantiate the future trajectory of the wider uptake of microbial technologies in an urban context, ultimately resulting in “Living” cities that are based on microbial (micro)economics and are fundamentally bioremediating.

Rachel Armstrong
Place-Based Processing: Industrial Process Architecture for Sumptuous Convivialities

Today, technologies of the emerging bioeconomy present one focused opportunity to unwind and transmute industrial operations into sustainable, regenerative work. Relying on standing industrial process design methods, however, may tether this hope to the same consequences and disparities industrialization has already suffered us the last few centuries. Instead, process design methods reconsidered to begin from specificity of place and reverence for relationship may be a helpful balance to methods that begin from abstract process operations or intended product outcomes, alone. This essay posits that drawing architects deeper into the pragmatics of designing and delivering factories, refineries, waste/energy plants, or other industrial infrastructure might support the above re-tooling of process design methods toward kind, non-modern practice. Process architecture is an established professional capacity for working spatially and relationally on plant design in collaboration with process engineering, though it is often practiced more by former plant operators than by architects. When included, the role of Process Architect can also be technically well-positioned within standing project delivery structures to help identify and implement better designs for the substantial footprint this building type has in ecological relationship, carbon emissions, material and waste flows, worker’s rights, concentration of capital, and patterns of land use and urbanization. To invite more architects to this seat at the table, this essay offers a very basic introduction (for architects) to the roles of process architecture and process engineering in industrial operations today and to how these disciplines might support a deeper sustainability in the near future. With a stronger coalition of architects working in skillful partnership with the vast webs of human and non-human assemblages shaping today’s industrial landscape, perhaps together we may help re-weave some of today’s most barren and extractive industrial practices into thriving, mutually nourishing convivialities.

Sarah Kantrowitz
Towards a Bacterially-Induced Textile Architecture

Bacteria are rarely considered as belonging to the architectural realm. Yet they are part of the built environment as they are part of our own bodies. In the emerging field of biodesigned architecture, bacteria are involved in the visual expression as well as the structural performance of buildings. In this visual essay, we reflect on the results of a curriculum-based workshop focused on the biocalcification of textiles, a rigidification process informed by the bacterially induced precipitation of calcite. Building on the pioneering work of architects Bastian Beyer and Daniel Suarez in this area, the results point at the rich textile vocabulary through which biocalcification can be expressed and the value of interdisciplinary collaborations sitting at the intersection of textile design, architecture and microbiology.

Aurélie Mosse, Daniel Suárez Zamora, Bastian Beyer
Synthetic Natures

In the Anthropocene the distinction between what is natural and what is human-made, which has informed the distinction between the ‘wild’ and the cultured for centuries, has become blurred. So, what is natural and what is artificial in the Anthropocene? The human struggle to contain systems running out of control, species going extinct, and catastrophic effects impacting our safety, has thrown our idea of ‘home’ into a fundamental crisis. According to the latest World Health Organization (WHO) report, 8 million people die every year globally because of air pollution alone. However, we also find strange beauty in the Anthropocene, where unexpected side effects and alternate symbiotic relationships in nature occur. Synthetic natures, a term used here to look at the purposeful symbiotic merging of nature’s intelligence with building structures, studies how these new life forms (species) can alter buildings and material ecologies, and drastically reduce the buildings’ environmental impact, altogether re-defining architecture as being an instrumental part of the solution rather than solely creating the problem. Architecture needs to learn/adapt and hybridize. Rather than simply applying vegetation on otherwise inert structures, buildings themselves need to learn from nature’s intelligence, by adopting plant intelligence, hybridizating and initiating symbiotic relationships with natural systems. In the near future we can ‘grow’ new construction materials with ever more intelligent behaviors. These buildings will generate oxygen, absorb carbon, and are self-healing, creating continuous biomorphic surfaces. In the future city where building structures grow and lower the carbon footprint rather than adding to it, the human race might have a chance of not only surviving, but symbiotically living with these synthetic natures as ‘home’.

Winka Dubbeldam
Hardware Stories. DIY Practices as More-than-Human Material Activism

In relation to an understanding of the symbiotic nature of living organisms, the project “Hardware Stories” is presented as a counternarrative to modernist hygienist standardization. It is a set of diegetic prototypes of construction elements, with relative manufacturing and maintenance tools, and is showcased through a floor component. This work questions how much the mechanism of production of architectural construction materials, with its quality control mechanisms and the economic scale that its implementation requires, actually prevents any form of alternative approaches. The project proposes to consider DIY practices as a form of mundane resistance that can empower multiple actors as a practice of material activism. Through the description of material sourcing, properties, manufacturing processes and installation, this visual essay aims to explain how these enable to conceive different relationships of cohabitation that are critically framed through the concept of “domestication-as-rewilding”, introduced by anthropologist Anna Tsing.

Antonio Bernacchi, Alicia Lazzaroni

Localising Resource

The Soil of New Culture Studios: A Spring for African Architecture

This paper reflects on the contemporary need for reconsidering circularity in architecture. For this, it investigates a vernacular building system rooted in the Niger Delta that supports an alternative form of understanding materiality. Framed within current research on re-animating soils, the practices of Demas Nwoko (Nigeria, 1935)—whose work has questioned circularity since the 60s—have resisted anachronism through challenges of contemporary architecture. From a physical material basis, his perception of ‘local’ is established by using the site’s soil applying techniques originating in ancient Nok ceramics. His understanding is that architecture is created within contemporary culture through a perpetual process of collaboration. From a temporal basis, he establishes a dynamism where the past and the future converge—digging up the past and building up foundations for the future are one and the same act; a cycle of life and birth. We argue that ours is a time of urgent reconsideration of human-soil interdependency; within it, ecological engagement with soil signifies hope. Focusing on Nwoko’s New Culture Studios project (Ibadan, 1967–), the article uses critical commentary to examine the processes placing them at the intersections of modernisation, post-colonialism and material resilience. We argue that this examination extracts important principles on how appropriate technology can evolve with use of local resources. This creates a possibility of thinking design circularity as an evolutionary spiral leading to the emergence of new sustainable cultures for architectural practice.

Jite Brume, Alvaro Velasco Perez, Demas Nwoko
From Traditional (Vernacular) to Contemporary (New) Architecture: A Lesson from Southwest Nigeria

Every cultural group in the globe has its own peculiarity of its own traditional architecture, though the approach may differ from places to places. This paper looks at the vernacular architecture of the Southwestern Nigeria as practices by the indigenous Yorubas who have a peculiar climatic and socio-cultural and religious practice. The approach to architecture by this ethnic group was looked into with the intention of finding positive values in the traditional way which can be applied to the contemporary one. It was deduced that local building materials are cheap, easily to come by and are able to meet housing needs without having negative effects on the local climate and the natural environment. It was recommended that more emphasis should be given to the use of locally sourced building materials in the building industry. The paper concluded that traditional values which apply to the cultural and climatic needs of an area should be given adequate priority when contemporary architecture is the choice in order to create an eco-friendly environment to meet the needs of man.

Dorcas Oluwaseyi Adeoye, Babajide Agboluaje, Olubukola Abosede Akindele, Samuel Bolaji Oladimeji
India’s Informal Reuse Ecosystem Towards Circular Construction

As countries continue to develop, the amount of construction and demolition waste generated is exponentially increasing. There is an urgent need to move from linear, take-make-waste systems to more circular systems that extend materials lifespans. India is known for its material reuse and recycling businesses. Currently, most of these businesses are run locally and do not involve any government registration but they significantly contribute to the economic growth of the country. Despite the importance of this informal sector, there is still not enough understanding of how they operate. This paper examines the processes and people involved in reusing construction elements in Mumbai and Bangalore, and their current models of resource procurement and trade. Field visits and interviews were conducted to understand through whom materials are transferred in the informal ecosystem, what types of materials and quantities can be currently procured in informal supply chains, what the storage practices are, and how reusable construction elements are retrieved and processed. A qualitative content analysis method helped to understand the informal material reclamation processes in India. Findings show that although a robust informal material reuse ecosystem exists across India, organisation and governmental policies are needed for effective contribution towards sustainable development goals and a circular economy.

Deepika Raghu, Catherine De Wolf
Making a Beam Social—In Search of a Localised Production Paradigm

Making a Beam Social investigates how communities can gather heterogenous wood waste streams and steer them into load bearing building components. In response to the current wasteful wood practice being single use in the construction sector, there is a need to reconsider discarded wood’s potential. This research project seeks an alternative to relying on uniform traits and economies of scale, proposing novel, high value applications for waste wood. A full-scale loadbearing beam is constructed as an exemplar of alternative interactions between human and non-human agency, forming new social relations between locally salvaged timber artefacts, and community. Through a hands-on workshop, the project considers three aspects of facilitating local production with waste wood resources: • Archiving the existing traits of found timber pieces by utilising drawing as a means to represent the information of found materials. This situates the salvaged timber as evolving independent artefacts, and not only material resources. • Grading individual timber elements using established indicating properties as a means to predict material performance. • Fabricating the beam parts whilst retaining as much as possible their elemental identities. The physical outcome is a loadbearing member developed through interlacing the social and the technical. As an architectural element, it works towards a culture of local production.

Xan Browne, Olga Popovic Larsen, Will Bradley
Babassu Coconut Fibre-Reinforced Natural Rubber Biocomposite for Fabrication and Use in Remote Locations

The work concentrates on how the largely disposed of by-products from the babassu palm tree industry and the liquid natural rubber latex extracted from the rubber trees can help produce local construction material on demand. Natural rubber and babassu natural occurrences overlap in Mapia and several other regions in Brazil; therefore, a locally fabricated biocomposite using these natural resources could be replicable in several regions across Brazil, establishing a regional collaboration between communities. Four samples with different babassu-natural rubber loading were produced following the steps commonly used in the production of biocomposites: fibre extraction, chopping of the fibres, mixing and post-processing. The mechanical properties of specimens cut out from samples with 0, 5, 7.5 and 10 pph fibre content were tested to ASTM standards. The material testing outcome follows broadly the trends highlighted in previous studies on natural rubber composites, with the addition of fibre increasing the stiffness of the natural rubber material and its tensile strength at lower elongations. The 7.5 pph sample shows a more significant increase in strength by 40% (at a 600% elongation) than non-reinforced rubber. However, the overall performance of the biocomposite is well under the expected and observed in previous studies. Even though in the early stages and with much refining required, the outcome of this work is promising. It allows foreseeing strategies for maximising the babassu–natural rubber biocomposite mechanical performance to respond to more specific applications in building projects.

German Nieva
The Scope of Egg Waste Use in the Built-Up Environment: A Study on the Viability of Eggshell Waste as an Organic Building Material

USA, India, and China are the three largest producers of eggs and annually India produces an average of 83 billion eggs. The egg waste generated from this massive production is sent to either landfills or incinerators. The EPA declared eggs as the 15th largest waste causing pollution. Companies pay up to $100,000 to dispose of egg waste in the form of landfills and this is an unsustainable and expensive way of disposing of waste. Egg waste in the form of shells and whites can be rather used as a building material that is cost-efficient and energy-efficient. Eggs have been used as a building material in the past millennia throughout Asia, Africa and parts of Europe. In the local vernacular architecture of India, its properties have been known to help in cooling the built-up environment and also provide a smooth finish to walls. In modern usage, eggshells have been used as an additive in concrete and have proven to add strength to the concrete admixture. Rethinking the way egg waste is repurposed can help in creating resilience through building materials. This paper will help understand the scope and viability of using egg waste in architecture by studying and recording the amount of egg waste generated and the logistics involved to help procure and use eggshells and white waste. This study will take an example of an Indian district to help demonstrate the viability of the practical usage of egg waste in the built-up environment.

Esther Kiruba Jebakumar Clifford

Heritage to High-Tech

Bricolage Sustainability: Addressing the Fundamental Misalignment Between Environmentalism and Patronage-Based Practice

Architects are pre-inclined, in identity, training, and legislation, toward patronage-based practices. This bias has had a significant impact upon the architect’s pursuit of sustainability, causing the professional to emphasize environmental approaches rooted upon linear and hierarchical processes and specifiable material palettes. Although not without reason or benefit, this prejudice toward predictability causes the architect to struggle when attempting to realize environmental gain through the use of unconventional means, reclaimed materials, or localized processes. To realize more profoundly sustainable work demands a shift in practice. Specifically, architects must replace top-down patterns of engagement for those that incorporate local wisdom. They must question their allegiance to specifiable material palettes and embrace the potential held by reclaimed or idiosyncratic means. And they must challenge the notion that the needs associated with the construction of the project at hand are inherently more important than those associated with its inevitable de-construction. In short, they must begin to think less like engineers, and more like bricolers. To investigate this premise, this writing will study three community-based projects, each of which was recently realized using a distinct, bricoler-inspired approach. From globalized crowdsourcing to hyper-local, peer-to-peer production, ad hoc construction to digital simulation, and design-build to viral propagation, each of the offered studies will lend readers a unique perspective into new, more sustainable forms of practice. And, hopefully, incite a radical re-imagination of each.

Scott Shall
Leaving No Maker Behind: Cultures of Tile Vault Making for Situated Design

Although recent calls in digital fabrication acknowledge local construction methods, the “local” in this framework is either a passive recipient of technological tools or a passive source of inspiration. The difference between high- and low-tech is much more than switching from robots to hand-making, as the two domains represent equal (but almost contradictory) modes of imagination, planning and decision-making This paper aims to reflect on the possible contribution of architectural practice and technologies to support vernacular building crafts. It reflects on four experimental case studies of tile vaults made in collaboration between the master vault makers and an architect to push the technique towards new applications and approaches to resourceful construction. The paper shows that the link between architectural practice and local building crafts is a threefold dialogue. First, designers should engage with the complexity of craft by illustrating its processes, not products. Second, designers should work with local building crafts communities beyond formal institutional channels. Third, designers should include vernacular knowledge in the current research on manufacturing and prefabricating replicable low-carbon building components. These threefolds can be translated to methods to engage socially and environmentally with local materials and knowledge. “Leaving no maker behind” acknowledges the overlooked human dimension of local construction: working directly with makers.

Wesam Al Asali
Re-use in Danish Vernacular Architecture: Examples and Their Future Versatility

With climate change, there is an urgent need to reduce CO2 emissions, for instance, the ones related to the building sector. Contemporary building has developed into having a larger climate impact in the construction phase than in the operational phase which highlights the necessity to rethink resources. At the same time, research into connections between sustainability and Danish preindustrial vernacular architecture shows a widespread re-use of building materials and components. As a logical consequence, this paper investigates vernacular approaches to resource management in the form of re-use with a view to discuss the versatility of such in future building. The first part of the paper explores examples of re-use in preindustrial vernacular architecture. To achieve this objective, the paper initiates the methodic and analytical framework. Next, a literature review is presented to provide general information on re-use in architectural heritage and to focus on the two case studies. Through the case studies, examples of re-use and recycling are identified and outlined. The second part of the paper discusses the extent to which the vernacular approaches to re-use have the potential to contribute to future sustainable building and the possible challenges.

Birgitte T. Eybye
(Re)making the Haubarg—Towards Sustainable Dwelling on a Bounded Earth

In contemporary architecture, there is a renewed focus on resource production, consumption and use. Wood may be considered a renewable resource, potentially abundant, carbon neutral and recyclable. However, the environmental benefits of using timber are not straightforward. Also, it seems as if the architectural implications of designing with wood have not been fully articulated. As such, it seems necessary to rethink the potential of wood in contemporary architectural design practice. The aim of this paper is to investigate the topic of Rethinking Resources with a specific focus on the qualitative potential of wood as informed by traditional building culture. It is asked how knowledge embodied in crafts tradition and local vernacular may inform a contemporary architectural design practice and inspire the development of (more) sustainable building culture(s). A traditional farmhouse has been investigated and analysed with regard to technical properties, cultural-historical qualities, and experiential effects. An experimental timber structure has been built by students at the Royal Danish Academy, and the results have been described and analysed seen through a phenomenological-hermeneutic lens. It is pointed out that technical properties, cultural-historical qualities and experiential effects as found in crafts tradition and local vernacular may inform a contemporary design practice. It is argued that questions concerning sustainability should be seen in a holistic perspective and the building as situated within a larger material, environmental and social (eco)system. In this perspective, traditional building culture may supplement and qualify contemporary design strategies and may contribute to inspiring future (more) sustainable building culture(s).

Nicolai Bo Andersen, Victor Boye Julebæk
High-Tech Meets Low-Tech

The quest toward a sustainable architecture from the early 70s onward highlights two seemingly non-compatible streams: the believers in the salvific potential of high technology and the partisans of low-tech, artisanal techniques. Those approaches were clear in the pages of Architectural Design, which published a melting pot of projects pushing for precision engineering and off-site fabrication along with experiments of constructions in garbage and salvaged materials. Designers in the first batch gave birth to the high-tech of the 80s, while those who dirtied their hands with mud looked naïve dreamers. Are these two approaches irreconcilable, or through a fusion of low-tech and high-tech, can we find a way to solve some of our struggles? This is the question we faced when we set to design a farmhouse. Life cycle thinking informs the process and gives life to an approach where the building is seen as an active system of material, energy, and social transformation, an act that requires the involvement of the architects in understanding the production chain of the building, activating dynamics of circular economy. The walls of the ground floor exploit the combination of two local crafts: lime and hemp, a century-old cultivation typical of the area that is now being reintroduced contributing to biodiversity. By placing the sleeping quarters in a lightweight, kit of parts enclosure designed for deconstruction on top of massive living areas, the design looks for creative ways to reduce operational energy while at the same time minimizing embodied carbon.

Andrea Veglia, Francesca Thiébat
Learning from Vernacular Architecture: The Essence of Remakri Area in Bangladesh

For thousands of years, vernacular architecture has been experiencing limitations that are emotionally associated with its aesthetic variety, self-regulating construction, invention, and adaptation to its surroundings. Vernacular’s authenticity describes the shared culture of people in a specific geographic region, including their language, heritage, religion, and customs to show the importance of its identity and existence in historical context. Even though vernacular architecture faces limitations, its adaptability and open-ended approach inspire modern designers to embrace traditional structures, which are highly sustainable and energy efficient. Approximately, how many vernacular buildings have been lost from a community? Furthermore, how does vernacular architecture respond to specific conditions in this contemporary era that affect people and places all over the world? This paper examines the current condition of vernacular buildings in Remakri area inside Thanchi Upazilla at Bandarban District in Bangladesh, their existing role in society, and studies the theories and practices of contemporary vernacular that are shaping and examining the community. As technology advances rapidly, traditional structures still provide valuable lessons in terms of their creation and ethnicity. By working at multiple scales, this paper explores and integrates contemporary strategies that will not only increase the quality of life in the community, but also greatly enhance the cultural values in the global platform.

Anindita Laz Banti
Ancestral Earthen Construction Techniques Updated to the Needs of the People in the Central Andes of Peru, an Experience of Research and Training of Architecture Students Based on Community Service

The objective of the research was to study and update ancestral construction techniques using raw earth as a fundamental material, these techniques were taken as a reference to different pre-Inca cultures that used this material as an alternative to construction needs, as is the case of the Chan Chan city 1200 to 1465 AD belonging to the Chimú culture and the architectural remains of the Huaca Puccllana 200 to 700 AD of the Lima culture. These cultures left us a legacy of construction techniques that serve to develop a learning and teaching methodology dedicated to architecture students from the city of Huancayo who, in the experimental earth construction laboratory, replicate these techniques applied in the towns of the Central Andes. From Peru. Peru, through participation based on community service, promoting SDG 11 based on sustainable cities and communities, as a result of the methodology being based on learning, practicing, and teaching these construction techniques to the communities of Palian and Cochas that they belong to the territory of the Mantaro Valley located at 3200 m above sea level. Finally, as a result of this academic and social process, local acceptance for the use of raw land as a constructive alternative will increase, it is within these communities that the most abundant resource is used and consequently construction costs are reduced and greater access is achieved. Houses by the neighbors were formed in this process of investigation and technological extension, finally these years of work achieved the development of several investigations related to the construction on land that helped the students to graduate as architects.

Vladimir Simon Montoya Torres
Plektonik—Active Yarns for Adaptive Loop-Based Material Systems

This research investigates contemporary textile techniques and plant-based “active” yarns to describe a new material system and fabricate lightweight structural prototypes. We define “active yarns” as bio-based structural yarns, filaments that store elastic energy, and flexible stems from short rotation cop-pice (SRC) plantation species. SRCs are woody fast-growing tree species often cultivated to produce high biomass yields in a short period. This research fo-cuses on Willow (Salix spp.), the most spread SRC in Europe. Due to their fil-ament structure, SRC plantations produce rod-like flexible stems with finite lengths. To overcome length limitations, we industrially produced a cord-like yarn with bundled filaments and materials with different properties. Wood-bending techniques can shape these active yarns into warp-knit loops and later be assembled into larger structures. This lightweight construction method lev-erages sustainability thanks to the combination of a fast renewable source of material like SRCs with efficient use of raw material resources granted by the ability of knitting to produce the form with almost no waste. Moreover, this material assembly method of rigid loops allows for re-assembly. As a result, the material would recover energy as part of the biomass production chain.

Daniel Suárez, Natalija Miodragović

Fabrication Futures

Structural Performance-Based 3D Concrete Printing for an Efficient Concrete Beam

This paper presents the design and fabrication of an efficient steel–concrete composite beam prototype using structural optimization methods and innovative 3D concrete printing (3DCP). In traditional building industry, concrete objects like slabs or beams are cast by using low-cost standardized formwork, resulting in their high material usage and large carbon footprints. Although the development of large-scale 3DCP offers a formwork-free and rapid construction method, the elements created are like those created by standardized formwork. To achieve formwork-free construction of efficient concrete structures, this paper proposes the method of structural performance-based 3DCP. The work in this paper uses multi-material BESO technique and non-horizontal 3D printing to fabricate an efficient steel–concrete composite beam prototype with a span of 4 m. According to rough calculations, the optimized structure saves approximately 60% of concrete and 50% of steel compared to a conventional concrete beam. Combined with previous studies, this paper summarizes and proposes an important shift that is taking place in 3DCP. The general workflow of Structural Performance-Based 3D Concrete Printing is summarized, and future research topics are discussed. The study in this paper demonstrates the valuable outlook of the combination of structural performance-based design and precise material deposition methods, which could contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Hao Wu, Yu Li, Xingjie Xie, Xiaofan Gao, Philip F. Yuan
Integrated Design Models for Materially Differentiated Knitted Textile Membranes as the Means to Sustainable Material Culture Within Membrane Architecture

Material design and production must be rethought in light of limited resources, contributing to UN Sustainable Development Goals, promoting sustainable industrialization and fostering innovation. Currently, building practices rely on composite materials to meet a variety of performance demands, by bonding different materials together. This results in problems of reuse and recycling at the end of life, as they are hard to separate. As an alternative, functionally graded materials (FGMs), such as CNC-knitted membranes, allow the steered intensification of a single material in order to meet multiple performance requirements and ease their further reuse. Current architectural design practice conceptualises matter as homogeneous, while novel FGMs, and knitted architectural materials in particular, require radically different methods and tools for their design and digital representation. Given their extreme heterogeneity, complex material behaviour prediction and additive manufacturing nature, there is currently no ready-to-use software to address these challenges. In order to improve the quality of taken design decisions, better reflect knitted FGMs characteristics and pave the way for more sustainable production using FGMs, it is essential to create integrated design models, considering material heterogeneity, structural performance and fabrication constraints of such materials. In this research, we examine how CNC-knitted membranes, having versatile material structures, can be designed with heterogeneous composition. It is done through the development of custom digital tools that reflect their differentiated structure, analyse tensile performance and perform materially oriented simulation, while taking into account fabrication constraints (figure below). We describe a novel approach to inform the differentiation of knitted membranes by structural analysis and a method for calibrating heterogeneous membrane simulations. By utilising computational tools for structural performance evaluation, Graded Knitted Ceiling panels demonstrate how custom-made bespoke membranes can be materially differentiated and how such designs can then be simulated and calibrated based on the physical results.

Yuliya Sinke, Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, Martin Tamke
A Method for Designing with Deadwood for Architectural Acoustics

This paper presents the investigation and proposition of how to analyse and design with deadwood as a material resource, and how it can be applied as advanced acoustic design in architecture. The study is focused on Poplar wood in progressed decay, where visual, structural and sound characteristics are analysed and discovered through material studies, prototype studies, computational studies and measurement studies. The research findings have environmental, technical and aesthetical consequences for how we understand and rethink material resources, their structural state and how we can understand biogenic material transformations as part of the design process. Processes lead to a better understanding of using the regenerative materials we have available on the planet. The specific research contributions are increased knowledge of poplar density variances from natural decay and how density variance impacts sound absorption properties of the material and spaces. Furthermore, a new method for descriptive and prescriptive acoustic design processes is presented, based on image-analysis methods. This research and its findings are argued to open novel pathways for material practices as an approach that engage with biogenic material agency, which in turn empowers architecture to address urgent questions of material scarcity and material-climatic relations driven by the built environment.

Isak Foged
Cap Ceilings Revisited: A Fabrication Future for a Material-Efficient Historic Ceiling System

Ceilings are key to more sustainable and climate-friendly construction. Slab systems comprise the most embodied carbon in proportion to all component groups. The shortage of materials after World War II brought a brief renaissance for vaulted masonry ceiling systems. The simplicity and effectiveness of the purely compression-loaded caps enabled rapid reconstruction with the available material and rubble. These characteristics require the system to be re-examined in light of today’s debates on resource scarcity and circularity. The research presents a LCA-Analysis, comparing six different ceiling systems under a uniform usage scenario. While a conventional concrete flat slab has a GWP of 136 kgCO2e/m2, the vaulted slab achieves a value of 64 kgCO2e/m2, representing a savings potential of 53%. Under the same conditions, masonry caps offer an operational solution that embodies less than half as much carbon as a conventional concrete ceiling. In addition, clear circularity properties can be demonstrated for the masonry cap ceilings. Circular economy principles are applied at both material and construction levels. The geometric precondition of cap ceilings with repetitive construction sequences lends itself to digital fabrication methods. This process enables further development of the historic form through multifunctional optimization. Hence, a 3D-printed acoustic brick was developed which enables the raw ceiling to meet a broad range of requirements. Our digital fabrication experiments show a unique combination in the joining of newly generated performative bricks and recycled material.

Saqib Aziz, Emil Brechenmacher, Brad Alexander, Jamila Loutfi, Christoph Gengnagel
RE:Thinking Timber Architecture. Enhancing Design and Construction Circularity Through Material Digital Twin

Wood is a fundamental resource for building the future environment and meeting CO2 reduction goals. However, wood is truly sustainable only if it can be preserved for a long time and reused throughout several construction cycles. Previous research by the authors shows that algorithmic design and automation technologies are introducing novel possibilities for reconfigurable architecture, which is conceived to allow easy assembly and reassembly of wood components into different structures. In this context, dynamic and accessible material data is vital to enhance circular construction effectively. This paper introduces the concept of Material Digital Twin, an online material database directly connected to computational models and is used for real-time exchange of design, simulation, assembly and construction information. The outlined approach is applied to the realization of a laboratory-scale prototype structure, which is used as a testbed platform to verify and document the relevance of the accessible database in supporting the automation of reusable timber construction.

Anja Kunic, Roberto Cognoli, Roberto Naboni
Printsugi: Matter as Met, Matter as Printed. Leveraging Computational Design Tools for a More Virtuous Material Extraction and End-of-Life

You’re outside. You want to build. There’s earth. There’s twigs and logs. There’s stones. There’s all you need. Our research proposes to leverage 3D-printing and computational design strategies to use matter as met, i.e., matter as found on site in building processes. Combined into a design method enabling disassembly and reassembly, this approach enables less transformation of the materials used and thus less energy consumption. It also renders possible the use of resources without a brutal extraction process, as well as a focus on materials that are locally available. We propose a design and fabrication workflow in answer to these requirements. This workflow starts with testing raw earth available on the site in order to devise a recipe for the raw earth to be 3D-printed. The second step is the collection, sorting, and 3D-scanning of other types of materials available on site, such as logs and stones. The third step is the resort to a computational design process placing these materials in the most relevant place within the shape that is to be constructed. The fourth step is to model connectors linking these pieces together. The fifth step is to print the connectors by using the recipe devised in the first step. To print the pieces, a low-cost 3D-printer is to be used on site, in order to remain as local as possible. As the connectors are to be only components of the structure, they are of small scale and the 3D-printer can thus have a relatively small printing area as well. The final step is to assemble the structure by bringing together connectors and materials. A prototype serves as a case study to demonstrate each of the steps within the paper, using raw stones and clay connectors.

Nadja Gaudillière-Jami, Max Benjamin Eschenbach, Oliver Tessmann
Computationally Enabled Material Management—Learning from Three Robotically Fabricated Demonstrators

Addressing the 12th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) is important and has become financially necessary over the last few years. The covid-19 pandemic and the consequences of war have led to material scarcity, making the global market respond with increased prices and longer delivery times. Consequently, this has inverted the cost relationship between construction material and labor cost, making construction material a more significant expense than labor. To better understand this challenge, this research developed a computational strategy for linear timber elements focused on minimizing material use through preplanned cutting sequences that indicate waste and off-cut data. Thus, the paper analyses the material use of three robotically fabricated timber case studies to demonstrate the process. Each case study is morphologically different, representing the following construction concepts (1) Different parts, simple joinery; (2) Similar parts, complex joinery; and lastly, (3) similar parts, simple joinery. The analysis indicates the material consequences of using different timber joinery strategies. Furthermore, the research suggests a process to handle off-cuts through labeling and databases, which can lead to new sources of revenue for an industry-leading fabricator.

Jens Pedersen, Dagmar Reinhardt
Comparative Experiment on Adaptive Reuse of Wood Stud Partition Walls: Integrating the DfD Concept into Building Component Design

Resource consumption and waste generation during the construction, renovation and demolition of buildings are global problems. Therefore, architects are required to consider the feasibility of the future deconstruction of buildings in the design phase, that is, design for disassembly (DfD). This paper presents a comparative experiment on the assembly and adaptation of a wood stud partition wall, for which the wall component was designed via conventional construction and the DfD concept. Upon comparing the results, it was found that the experimental group with DfD integration consumed less raw material but required more time during the assembly process. However, the novel design of the wall demonstrated obvious advantages with regard to labour savings, waste generation and quality control as well as modification flexibility during adaptation. These results have shown the feasibility of integrating the DfD concept into building component design and validated its related potential under experimental conditions. This work also provides useful information for architects, engineers and other architecture, engineering and construction practitioners in designing resource-efficient buildings using innovative techniques of (dis)assembly in the future.

Harrison Huang, Lu Li, Nan Xia, Mengdi Zhao
Research on 3D Printing Craft for Flexible Mass Customization: The Case of Chengdu Agricultural Expo Center

Mass customization of prefabricated architecture is becoming increasingly crucial for developing the architectural industry. With the continuous iterative development of digital design tools and construction methods, paradigm innovation liberates social productivity significantly. This thinking of architecture allows architects to accomplish profound design concepts and intentions with sustainable production strategies. At the same time, digital design tools and architectural robotics also powerfully awaken the relevance of tradition and local culture, addressing the issue of the declining productivity of traditional construction methods. In the engineering practice of the Chengdu Agricultural Expo Center, robotic timber fabrication and plastic 3D printing craft efficiently completed the construction of complex structural elements. The 3D-printed roof covers an area of about 3,000 square meters. All the roof panels are prefabricated in the factory and transported to the site for assembly. It proves that 3D printing can meet the demand for the efficient construction of large-scale and high-dimensional geometric roofs. This paper introduces the integrated design-to-fabrication process and robotic construction method of the large-scale prefabricated roof, taking the Chengdu Agricultural Expo Center as an example.

Tianyi Gao, Sijia Gu, Liming Zhang, Philip F. Yuan

Restarting from Renewables

Prototyping Thatched Facades—Global Scaling of Local Knowledge

The paper presents the results from a cross-disciplinary research project investigating clay as a fire retardant in vertically thatched facades, and it elaborates on its consequences on aesthetics and buildability by prototyping. The prototypes take point of departure in three different typologies: thatching on construction sites, thatched prefabricated façade elements, and thatched masonry. Initially, a mock-up of a reed-thatched façade sprayed with clay and with clay boards as fire stop every 100 cm was subjected to a Single Burn Item test (SBI test). The result showed a FIGRA at 25 W/s, which is positive. This raised the question on how these findings could form radical tectonic solution as a respond to the need for CO2 neutral constructions. The prototyping of prefabricated clay-impregnated thatched façade elements seems to have multiple possibilities regarding time optimization, transportation, and (dis)assembly. Whereas thatching and impregnating on the construction site is possible, but slower than standard thatch construction therefore processes must be developed and tested further. An unanswered question is how the reed will respond to humidity, when thatched to a solid base of plywood without ventilation. Furthermore, questions about the ceramic curing of clay when burned with downfall as a result are unanswered.

Henriette Ejstrup, Anne Beim
InterTwig—Willow and Earth Composites for Digital Circular Construction

The construction sector has high resource demands and generates a significant amount of waste, a consequence of its linear approach. A shift towards renewable and local material sources and the implementation of closed material cycles represent a significant opportunity for the construction industry to curtail the depletion of raw materials. To address these challenges, this paper presents a strategy for a novel circular construction method that combines willow, a rapidly renewable material, with earth and is enabled by digital fabrication, which can sustain their industrialisation through tailored processes. Emerging from a materiality perspective, the research revisited vernacular building techniques that used plant- and earth-based composites, exemplified by the vernacular wattle and daub, to understand how these can be enhanced through digital design and digital fabrication. Willow (Salix) is a woody plant native to Europe whose stems can be harvested yearly, thanks to specific forestry practices, namely short rotation coppice, that allow the plant to regenerate in rapid cycles. To use willow for construction, geometry and textile techniques were implemented to create stable structures. In combination with earth, a finite but abundant and infinitely recyclable material, it creates a sustainable and circular composite that exploits the structural characteristics of each constituent material. Digital design methods enabled the exploration of different geometrical variations and ensured an increased degree of control over their complexity at different scales. The research results were tested in a full-scale prototype, demonstrating the principles of the envisioned construction systems.

Erik Zanetti, Eszter Olah, Tamara Haußer, Gianluca Casalnuovo, Riccardo La Magna, Moritz Dörstelmann
A Study on Carbon-Neutral Biochar-Cementitious Composites

The global environmental challenges are calling for novel solutions and sustainable practices in the fields of architecture and construction. To respond to the SDGs agenda, the research investigates strategies for integrating biochar as an aggregate for carbon-neutral cementitious composites and to gain knowledge upon the effects that large quantities of biochar within the material system has on mechanical properties as well as carbon sequestration. The paper presents the development and assessment of a series of grades of Biochar Cementitious Mortars (BCMs). Assessment is structured upon (i) material consistency, (ii) structural performance and (iii) composite’s embodied carbon. The results propose that biochar, derived from agricultural waste, and as a carbon-sequestering material, can be used to lower the net embodied carbon of cementitious composites when used as an amendment and cement replacement. As BCMs meet compressive strength standards and can provide building materials with a net-negative embodied carbon, the material research provides valuable input for applications in the construction sector. It is proposed that in the later stages of the research the developed BCMs can be applied within a materially driven design process trough functionally grading the material and consequently designs with optimised environmental impact can be achieved.

Nikol Kirova, Areti Markopoulou, Jane Burry, Mehrnoush Latifi
Irregular Architecture: The Possibility of Systems Thinking for Bamboo Architecture

Bamboo is a material that has been used for thousands of years in a wide variety of cultures distributed throughout the world in different geographic and climatic settings (Clark et al (2015) Bamboo Taxonomy and Habitat). The availability of standardized, more durable industrial products has led to the displacement of bamboo within communities with a history of bamboo use (Sharma (2010) Seismic Performance of Bamboo Structures). Research has sought to recontextualize the architectural use of bamboo from vernacular material to modern construction product, citing the sustainable, structural, and social benefits of working with bamboo (Van der Lugt (2017) Booming bamboo: the (Re)discovery of a sustainable material with endless possibilities). However, it is faced by a seemingly insolvable conundrum; how do you standardize an irregular material to meet the regulatory and structural requirements of a modern building industry? The focus of this paper is to posit an alternative question; does bamboo need to be standardized? By examining the different ways bamboo has been used in vernacular cultures and in contemporary design, the paper will highlight systems and methodologies that respond to the irregularity of bamboo, focusing on both architectural systems and broader socio-technical responses to working with bamboo. It is an area of research currently unexplored and presents a novel approach to architecture where systemization allows for a flexibility that can account for non-standardized materials.

Jed Long
Fermented Weaves—A Visual Record of Design Enquiry

The technologies of weaving and fermentation represent two of humanity’s most enduring technologies. In the Fungal Architectures project, we investigate their combination in the development of a novel architectural construction concept that utilises mycelium-based composites in conjunction with Kagome weaves. Underlying this investigation is an effort to rethink resources in the making of architecture. This is considered in terms of raw material sourcing with a focus on locality, alternative materialities, material forming processes and the capital infrastructures required for production. Our intention is to develop an architecture that is not reliant upon advanced industrial technologies for its production. Far from being anachronistic, our aim is to reveal fermentation and weaving as deep reservoirs of innovative, disruptive potential, leading to new architectural expressions and production techniques that create a platform for promoting inclusion, equitability, knowledge sharing, community practice and empowerment through accessible craft mastery. In this visual essay, we outline our contributions in relation to the state of the art and offer insight into our practice-based research methodology. This is visually presented as a journey through the project development. Our practice-based approach combines physical and digital experimentation with the objective of developing both the construction concept and the requisite design tools and workflows.

Phil Ayres, Adrien Rigobello, Claudia Colmo, You-Wen Ji, Jack Young, Karl-Johan Sørensen
Regenerative Material-Human Ecologies: Investigating Mycelium for Living and Decentralized Architectures in Rwanda

The perpetuation of highly carbon-intensive construction practices by wealthy industrialized nations in non-industrialized contexts, in conjunction with the globally asymmetrical effects of climate change, has brought about long-lasting ecological and economic issues. The present work aims to embody an alternative approach to reconsidering resources, defined here as the material, knowledge, and economic flows that constitute an ecology of building, for non-industrialized contexts through the application of regenerative design principles. Sited in a semi-rural site in Kigali, Rwanda, this project investigates the potential for the co-development of living biocomposite construction through cooperative knowledge and supply ecosystems that enable decentralized architectures through local design agency. The unique properties of mycelium, the filamentous networks of fungal organisms, are utilized to test the adaptability of fabrication and construction models through local flows of material and information. The work aims to (1) test, prototype, fabricate, and install mycelium-based modular systems onsite, and (2) focus existing local knowledge on the effort of building a sustainable framework for design-build that enables continuity-in-place. By engaging with local stakeholders, including farmers, craftspeople, mushroom growers, organizations, and builders, the project envisions the reconsideration of resources through the culmination of a self-supporting material-human ecosystem.

Nina Sharifi, Yutaka Sho, Daekwon Park, Morgan Noone, Kiana Memarandadgar
Production of Thermoplastic Starch Pellets and Their Robotic Deposition for Biodegradable Non-standard Formworks

The climate crisis challenges architects, designers, and engineers to explore alternative opportunities for more sustainable fabrication processes. Biopolymers have emerged as a potential material to replace petroleum-based plastics used in building and construction processes. This research aims to re-evaluate the production of non-standard building elements and introduce bio-based and biodegradable materials for formworks in architecture. This research paper investigates the production of thermoplastic starch (TPS) pellets and connected digital fabrication techniques. It studies the effects of varying ratios of the plasticizer on the behavior and properties of the material. TPS pellets are further processed using a large-scale robotic 3D printing setup, utilizing the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) method. The initial printed results using a robotic pellet extrusion system are presented, analyzed, and evaluated. The advantages and challenges of this approach are discussed within the scope of the architectural research field. This paper focuses on the production and digital fabrication techniques of TPS pellets, with the primary goal of developing a sustainable, bio-based, and bio-compostable system for concrete formwork in architecture.

Benjamin Kemper
MYCOlullose: Fabricating Biohybrid Material System with Mycelium-Based Composites and Bacterial Cellulose

In an attempt to become more sustainable, architects have increasingly begun employing biomaterials in design practices. The current ethos merely considers biomaterials as an eco-friendly substitute for conventional solutions. This paper attempts to elevate the benefit of using biomaterials by creating and evaluating a hybrid material formed as a result of collaboration between living organisms of mycelium, and by-product of kombucha brewing, SCOBY bacterial cellulose. The fabricated artefact provides an example whereby a combination of distinct living organisms in a complimentary fashion holds potential for the discovery of previously unimagined goals, new value systems, qualities and speculative applications that can embrace this discovered affordance. The hybrid assemblage, explored through a material-driven approach, demonstrates that mycelium can effectively grow within the cellulose produced by bacteria, where mycelium is a structural, bulk element and bacterial cellulose is a sacrificial mold hosting the growth and gradually being integrated within the fungal skin. The manufacturing methodology used principles of fabric forming fabrication as a primary technique to create geometrical expressions, by translating 2D sewn bacterial cellulose membranes, into 3D structures with mycelium composite filling. The resulting hybridised biomaterial system with augmented characteristics combines complementary properties such as mechanical strength of BC performing well in tension and the mycelium-based composites in compression.

Natalia B. Piórecka, Peter Scully, Anete K. Salmane, Brenda Parker, Marcos Cruz
Water Resources Management in a Regenerative Design Approach

Increasingly scarce and less affordable, water is taking on the characteristics of a precious resource able to increase marked inequalities. The issue of water resources management at the micro-scale (building) stands as a priority field of investigation, and as a central approach in the transition to sustainable architecture, recognizable as ‘Regenerative Design’. Water scarcity represents a pending risk, derived from multilayer interferences that threaten consequences on the availability and affordability of resources, especially in the urban built environment. The proposed contribution offers an original method for building-scale water management, developed as a strategic framework encompassing mitigation and adaptation strategies. The research adopts a mixed-methodology for data collection and analysis, articulated in three phases, and widens the scope of analysis to all the components that contribute, even indirectly, to water consumption along all phases of the building’s life-cycle. A set of 11 key performance indicators is proposed, as instruments for the model-based testing as well as for the design process benchmarking. The outcome is a replicable design support tool to come up with sensible functional choices thus preventing water scarcity risk, as a catalyst for progressing UN SDG 6 in synergy with SDGs 11, 12, 13 and while reducing trade-offs with SDG 3.

Alessandro Stracqualursi, Maria Beatrice Andreucci

The Value of Waste

Extending the Circular Design Framework for Bio-Based Materials: Reconsidering Cascading and Agency Through the Case of Biopolymer Composites

Pressing issues of sustainability drive the pursuit of new circular bio-based design frameworks in order to limit the use of finite resources and fossil fuel energy consumption. In architecture and the built environment these efforts have fostered a renewed interest in bio-based materials as the only truly sustainable resource for building materials. However, bio-based materials are different to the resources that cascade through technological cycles. With the increased interest and application of bio-based material in the building sectors comes the realisation that they do not map directly on to existing models of circular design for the built environment. In this paper we present an effort to extend the circular design framework for biopolymer composites in architectural applications. The paper takes point of departure in a mapping of existing strategies for cascading in the built environment. By presenting two biopolymer composites as case studies, we examine how introducing this class of materials into the circular design framework challenges the actions and implication of cascading and reconfigures the weighting of agency and control. The conceptual, technical and practical implications of the usage of such materials in future building practice are speculated on through the creation of six design scenarios that expand the role of cascading creating a new connectivity between material practices.

Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen, Gabriella Rossi, Anders Egede Daugaard, Arianna Rech, Paul Nicholas
Sustainable (Re)Development in Post Industrial City Regions Centering Circular Systems of Food, Energy, Water, and Waste: A Case for Detroit

For architects and urban designers working on sustainable urban projects and aiming to integrate UN SDG frameworks, a broader set of methods and practices is required than those that have traditionally been part of the discipline. To apprehend and evaluate sustainable development project goals and impacts, a collaborative and systems-oriented design approach is required to situate design within its broader complex of networks and processes and to expand project priorities and interventions to operate in multiscalar and integrated ways. This paper describes a framework that evaluates the Food Energy Water (FEW) Nexus across scales from Region (Great Lakes Megaregion), to State (Michigan), to the City of Detroit to illuminate issues of equity and access across FEW domains while aiming to leverage circular systems towards more just and sustainable urban futures. Working with stakeholders in Detroit, the project illustrates a design-based methodology and strategies to enhance circular synergies, reduce waste flows, and evaluate proposal impacts based on Co2e per capita in the resulting urban design schemes. Quantification of systemic impacts alongside visualizations of resulting building and urban configurations, engineering components, and public space design are presented. Lessons from Detroit offer portable strategies for other post-industrial cities and urban centers where issues of equity and access to food systems are pressurized.

Geoffrey Thun, Tithi Sanyal, Kathy Velikov
Can Digital Matchmaking Boost Circular Construction? Lessons from Reusing the Glass of Centre Pompidou

Digitalization is driving innovation towards a circular economy in various industries—but the construction industry is lagging behind. The building industry, a growth sector due to increasing urbanization, is at the same time actively depleting our resources, generating waste, and emitting greenhouse gases at a tremendous scale and speed. This chapter argues that we must urgently shift from a linear take–make–waste model to a circular one whereby we utilize our resources wisely and keep them from becoming waste. The experience of reusing the glass from the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France, confronted the architects with the many challenges we face when renovating a building with circular principles. Finding architects to use the iconic bent glass instead of crushing it for recycling (or worse, for disposing it in a landfill) turned out to be a time-consuming task. Adopting artificial intelligence and digital information sharing to match materials for reuse with people who can reuse them is exactly what the construction industry needs for a paradigm shift towards circularity.

Catherine De Wolf, Sultan Cetin, Nancy Bocken
Tak for Sidst: A Field Study of Demolition in Denmark

Construction and demolition waste contributes huge amount of emissions to the climate crisis. The EU has asserted that moving toward a circular economy is one strategy to address climate change, of which resolving issues with construction and demolition is an important aspect. Denmark is leading the way in terms of construction and demolition waste recycling. However, the Danish Ministry of Interior and Housing has suggested that the current 85% construction and demolition waste recycling rate can be improved on. Through a hands-on field study of a state-of-the-art sustainable demolition project in Copenhagen, this paper investigates crucial collaborators for architects when circular economy principals are applied and practiced. Strategies and important stakeholders are detailed.

Tom Buckland
Enhanced Databases on City’s Building Material Stock. An Urban Mining Method Based on Machine Learning for Enabling Building’s Materials Reuse Strategies

The climate crisis and the growing urbanization needs urge design and construction practices to shift their focus to the anthroposphere as a source of, rather than just a destination for, building materials. The concept of urban mining is revisited by many to manage the existing building material stock exploring the potential for reuse in new constructions. By combining image-based segmentation with cadastral data in a GIS database, this paper proposes an end to end process for an integrated web-based application enclosing and delivering cross-referenced data about a city’s material stock. The study uses unstructured data from Open Street View to identify relevant patterns for making estimations of the quantity, state, and projected availability cycle of concrete, brick, stone, metal, timber, and glass in building facades. By applying predictive modelling at the city scale, the algorithm can identify, geolocate and quantify façade materials with a present accuracy of 87%. The developed method proposes an alternative automated way to physical inspections which makes it applicable to different cities that lack registers of building data. A data repository map is developed in the format of an interface, so that it can be used by different stakeholders including decision-makers in the formulation and planning of urban material reuse strategies, as well as designers in the early stage of circular design processes. Tackling the accuracy limitations of machine learning, the paper concludes with studying the potential of combining the use of image unstructured data with statistical data of existing building registers including age of buildings and preservation state.

Areti Markopoulou, Oana Taut, Hesham Shawqy
Post Rock: From Designing a Building Material to Designing a Business Ecosystem

Post Rock is an ongoing research initiative developing new architectural materials made from waste plastics. The authors, academic researchers in architecture and advanced fabrication, have developed novel processes for thermoforming that yield variable, stone-like patterning. This paper discusses a recent reframing of the technical and design research through an immersion in evidence-based entrepreneurship. Lessons from over 100 interviews with building industry professionals not only provided key input at an early stage of commercialization, but also shaped the team’s thinking around circular strategies for architecture. The paper will demonstrate the feedback loops between insights shared from professionals “in the field” and refinements to Post Rock materials and fabrication processes “in the lab.” Four key hurdles to commercializing this building technology will be discussed: identifying a customer segment, defining sustainability and climate change goals, ensuring fire safety, and connecting cross-sector regional resources. Not only are the findings relevant to this project’s advancement, but they also point to broader challenges to circular design models. The work-in-progress shared here illustrates the importance of expanding design efforts beyond a singular focus on the product itself and toward co-designing a regional ecosystem of stakeholders across multiple sectors for waste products, particularly plastics, to become a climate-positive component of future buildings.

Meredith Miller, Thom Moran, Christopher Humphrey
Circular Economy Principles as Obstacles to Creativity?—A Study of Architects’ Expectations of Challenges and Opportunities

In the design phase, 80% of the environmental impact of products and services is determined. The implementation of a circular economy (CE) has the potential to reduce waste and encourage the reuse of resources. A CE enables firms to reduce pressure on the environment and stimulates the fight against climate change by adjusting the take-make-use-dispose paradigm to an approach that focuses on keeping materials in closed loops. A significant portion of the environmental impact of products and services is determined in the design phase, which potentially gives architects, who are involved in the early stages of the creative process, responsibility for meeting sustainability requirements. It has been claimed that sustainability requirements may reduce creativity. Therefore, it is relevant to investigate whether and how considering circular economy principles in the design phase will influence creativity. To investigate and comprehend the influence that principles of CE may have on creative outcomes, 21 Danish architects whose job duties particularly concentrate on artistic or creative work were interviewed. This study presents architects’ thoughts on how CE might impact their creativity and discusses expected opportunities and challenges related to considering CE in the creative process. By contributing to research on architects and the transition towards a CE, the project touches on two of the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals: Goal 11, which pertains to sustainable cities and consumption, and Goal 12, which concerns responsible consumption and production (United Nations in The 17 Goals. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, 2015).

Mia B. Münster, Marie-Jo Gutenkauf
Design for Rethinking Resources
herausgegeben von
Mette Ramsgaard Thomsen
Carlo Ratti
Martin Tamke
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