Closing the loop through design and engineering
The Circular Construction Lab (CCL) in the Department of Architecture at Cornell AAP houses a design research program that advances the paradigm shift from linear material consumption towards a circular economy within an industrialized construction industry. At the intersection of architecture, engineering, material and computer science, as well as economics, the lab investigates new concepts, methods and processes to (1) design and construct buildings as the material depots for future construction, and (2) activate the potential of the built environment as an 'urban mine' for today's construction. CCL understands architecture as part of a regenerative and restorative cycle and sees design as a vehicle that can advance this ambition with excellence in teaching and research. Through close collaborations with academic, industrial, and legislative/ political partners the lab ensures the relevance of its work and promotes the direct and full-scale implementation of research results towards a more sustainable, low/ no-carbon, circular construction industry.
The Circular Construction Lab is directed by Assistant Professor Felix Heisel.
From 22 May until 21 November 2021, La Biennale will take place in the Arsenale and the Giardini in Venice. The curator Hashim Sarkis calls on architects to imagine spaces in which we can generously live together in different ways, in the context of widening political divides and growing economic inequalities. As part of an intercontinental team spanning ETH Zürich, KIT Karlsruhe, EiABC Addis Ababa and Cornell University, Felix Heisel and Marta H. Wisniewska developed the contribution titled “Quo Addis? Conflicts of Coexistence”. In an urban model of Addis Ababa, the historical and architectural development of the Ethiopian capital from the age of Menelik’s empire in the 19th century until today is depicted in an abstract and at the same time precise and clear way.
The Mehr.WERT.Pavillon by 2hs and KIT Karlsruhe addresses the question how we can perform a paradigm shift in the way we use our resources, from the currently dominant linear economy towards a circular economy of closed and pure material cycles. On the one hand, the pavilion makes use of the existing urban mine – all materials used in the project have already undergone at least one life cycle, either in the same or in a different form. On the other hand, it acts as a material depot, which will become available again for future constructions at the end of the exhibition.
The Urban Mining and Recycling (UMAR) Unit is located within the NEST research building of Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Science and Technology (Empa) in Dübendorf, Switzerland. The building design created by Werner Sobek with Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel proves that circular construction is possible already today.