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.
The student exercise ‘Vom Gartenhaus zum Räumling’ aims to validate the potential of the urban mine. Using a garden shed near Karlsruhe as material depot, we carefully deconstructed the house and diligently documented each element. As a group, the students then designed a spatial installation utilizing only the harvested elements and no glue or permanent fixtures. After all, also this installation had to be designed for disassembly, providing building materials for yet another structure.
We would like to thank Scott Melbourne for the great review of our book Lessons of Informality: Architecture and Urban Planning for Emerging Territories – Concepts from Ethiopia in the Journal of Landscape Architecture.