Research team

Henry van de Velde

Expertise

Research expertise Expertise in structural design, both conceptional and constructional, as a structural engineer in all design phases and in all relevant building materials Expertise in circular construction, adaptable structures and design-for-disassembly Research into buildings material timber, particularly the culture of construction and assembling / connecting, transformation from craftsmanship to industrial, ca 1550-1950 Research into the history of glue-laminated Timber, in particular Switzerland and Belgium 1900-1940, and the early construction culture, actors involved and constructional references to other building materials Research into the history of iron and steel throughout the 19th century Research into the history and culture of trusses as a structural system in the 18th and 19th century

Crafting Circularity – Rethinking Sustainable Design and Construction in Architecture Education (CIRC-ARCH). 28/02/2022 - 27/02/2025

Abstract

Based on the limitations of resources we face, the project explores a paradigm shift: designing architecture with availabilities. This puts the architect in a new role within the design and construction process which challenges architecture education fundamentally. Therefore, new methods, tools and processes in architecture education must be found and established. Architects are essential agents in the necessary shift for a sustainable construction sector as they develop ideas, shaping buildings and our infrastructure, essentially choosing building materials and moderating building processes. While researchers and practitioners have taken on the issue and explore alternatives based on the circular use of materials, construction parts or buildings, the education of architects is still largely disconnected with the reflection of new design strategies for a more sustainable built environment. The actual design practice in architectural education needs to be connected to the state-of-the-art knowledge about sustainable design, students and teachers need to establish and train resource (availability) based design as a new paradigm in our building culture. And there needs to be a broader understanding of what sustainability and circularity mean and what they can bring to the very different within the European context. Embedding circular thinking and making actual objects in the very context of places are powerful elements of architectural education that need to be tools in future-proof architecture curricula.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project
  • Education Project

Structures of permanence and change – Modelling adaptability based on converted buildings. 01/10/2021 - 30/09/2025

Abstract

This research project aims to understand how buildings change over their lifetime if they are adapted. If buildings are not or cannot be used anymore, their very characteristic design, particularly its building structure, often prevents it from being adapted to new possible functions leading to vacancy and, consequently, demolition. Obsolescence is by far the main reason for demolition — and mostly of rather young buildings: Their service life (ca. 40 years) is thus much shorter than its physical life expectancy (min 80-100 years). Understanding the circumstances of change, first of its use and then of the building, and which components prevent or allow necessary transformations or extensions, forms a substantial basis for the design of new buildings. Such knowledge of change is largely missing. Building both on a detailed analysis of various case studies along their adaptations and the agency of stakeholders in the building industry, the project will model adaptability empirically to show how building functions, construction systems and materials are connected, and which paths of sustainable building design are most likely to produce long-living buildings.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project

SOPAC Structures of permanence and change – evidence-based mapping of adaptability based on reused modern buildings. 01/07/2021 - 31/12/2022

Abstract

The load-bearing structure of a building is not only the most permanent layer of a building, it is also the most energy intensive. It should thus be designed and constructed to serve not only a first lifespan of a building but also enable its reuse and allow adaptations for new functions. To understand how structure are most likely adapted and they are allowing or preventing change around them, this project studies reused and adapted modern buildings. Following this evidence-based approach, it also discusses the design paths of the stakeholders in the renovation process to connect the structure with its context as well as the desired and undertaken changes. The findings of these object histories will be mapped in spatial CAD models and, eventually, formalized in schematic diagrams with zones of adaptability related to functions and the structural layout. Providing a novel modeling approach of permanence and change in a building, the general findings can further used for new design process of fundamentally adaptable buildings and further research into adaptability modeling.

Researcher(s)

Research team(s)

Project type(s)

  • Research Project