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Arup Demonstration Project Highlights Principles of Circular Design

Tags: built environment (629)

Resetting the long-held linear model of construction (extract-make-install-dispose) in favor of a circular model can seem overwhelming. Thankfully, architects, designers, and thought leaders around the world are pioneering projects that serve as examples, inspiration, and education to guide the industry to build in ways in which materials retain their value beyond the life of the building.

The Circular Building, developed by Arup, Frener & Reifer, BAM Construction, and The Built Environment Trust,” is one such project. The prototype, built as a showcase for the London Design Festival in September, was designed and constructed with fully re-useable components “to demonstrate how circular economy thinking can be applied to the built environment ... and to explore how the industry can work toward zero waste.”

The building is designed for disassembly, which will allow components to be removed with minimum damage, thereby retaining their value. Each product is digitally tagged with a QR code containing information on reuse.

For example, Arup describes a frame was made of steel off-cuts and the building size was dictated by the steel lengths available; the structure of the building is demountable and reusable. Similarly, the cladding materials, a timber rainscreen made with Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Accoya wood, was designed for deconstruction, remanufacture, and recycling. Rooflights can be removed as a single piece and resold. Uncoated glazing improves recyclability.

To learn more about the project, its components, and how you can implement similar strategies, visit the project’s website as well as Circulate’s Q&A with project director Stuart Smith.