Linear till proven Circular

Wicked challenges from construction practice

25 October 2022 - 19:00
Stadscampus UAntwerpen - Aula s.C.103 - Prinsstraat 13, 2000 Antwerpen

During this lecture and conversation we will focus on discrepancies between intended design concepts and the – in many cases sobering – reality during construction, operation and disposal stages.

‘Circularity’ is increasingly present in architecture and design education. But also in policy documents, tenders, competitions and debates on housing and construction practice. One of the main recurring questions is: (how) can actors remain aligned throughout design, production, construction, operation and disassembly stages of buildings and building components? 

Diverging perspectives and interests, together with availability and affordability of materials, knowledge, data and other resources will weight heavily on decision-making processes. In the face of ecological challenges there is no room for stalling or conflicting strategies. The alignment of decision-making processes throughout the supply & (re)use value chain necessitates a concerted tour de force: both in the development and in the adoption of innovations. 

This socio-technological conundrum challenges existing priorities in practice as well as in research and education.

About Bob Geldermans – University of Antwerp, Faculty of Design Sciences

Assistant Professor Materials, Construction & Sustainability at the dept. of Interior Architecture. Bob’s research & education activities aim at healthy and regenerative resource-use in relation to architecture. His particular interest goes out to material quality and material-flows, applying an integrated-systems approach across stages: from raw material processing, product design and manufacturing to operational performance, deconstruction and reutilisation. Bob's doctoral research focused on the relation between Open Building and Circular Economy, elaborating on the synergistic potential of flexibility in interior lay-out and circularity of associated materials and products. His goal is to bridge the gap between scientific research and practical implementation, in order to facilitate a transition of our built environment: from linear and degenerative to circular and regenerative. Prior to his work at the University of Antwerp, Bob worked at TU Delft, where he has coordinated the Cradle-to-Cradle Inspired Lab and co-developed the CBE Hub. 

About Ben Croxford - Bartlett School Env, Energy & Resources

Professor of Environmental Design and Engineering. Teaches on Environmental Design and Engineering courses within UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, UCL School of Planning, and Architectural Design. Since April 2017 he was PI on the UK portion of the Cities of making research project. He is a co-director for the UCL Circular Economy Lab. Ben’s research interests include: how low energy buildings are actually being used; circular economy issues around the built environment; sustainable materials; and air pollution. In a recent project, he has been involved in monitoring one of the TSB Retrofit for the future homes, investigating how the occupants are learning to live in a low energy home.  He has been involved in a few  post occupancy evaluation projects including that of a community building in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and one investigating the circularity of HVAC equipment in a UCL building.

About Elma Durmisevic – Green Transformable Building Lab

Architect and academic Elma Durmisevic wants to bridge the gap between sustainable engineering, requirements of the construction industry, and market conditions. Her PhD research redefined building components as 'transformable structures' and demountability as a sustainable, circular principle. Durmisevic is director of 4D Architects and founder of the Green Transformable Building Lab (GTB Lab), a laboratory for circular construction. The aim of this lab is to develop, test and demonstrate transformable structures on the scale from entire buildings to connections between building elements. As the initiator of the Buildings as Material Banks project, Durmisevic commits to a Europe-wide systemic change in the construction industry, based on the premise that every building is a materials bank and thus source for reuse and circularity. (GTB Lab©).