Nordic Built Component Reuse

2014 - 2015

Reused Con­struc­tion Ma­te­ri­als

Material waste is the ‘dark side’ of renovation in construction and discarded materials and components potentially represent a triple capital related to economy, energy, and culture. The project explores, by devising and con-structing 20 full-scale prototypes, new practices for high-level reuse of dismantled building components and materials at all product stages from sourcing to disassembly.

>> Download the report (2017)

The transformational journey from ‘waste materials’ at hand to valuable new components was investigated through an array of methods. First, we investigated the current market status through interviews with industry experts. Based on specific properties and availability of large material groups, the team then used the Sfc-system to categorize waste components and map their potential applications. Then the team selected and applied Design for Disassembly principles and iterative, architectural design methods to develop multiple novel architectural concepts for facades and interior wall systems from scrap materials groups of brick, concrete, soft flooring, steel, and wood. We have designed and prototyped new component systems from discarded building materials. The prototypes were to be beautiful, implement completely reversible construction principles, be sellable, and possible to manufacture through processes that are effective in cost and energy.

20 Concepts were selected to be prototyped in full-scale following criteria including: Material categories; feasibility, material amounts, and design aesthetics.

For five cases, all procedures were timed and documented, and full LCA-analyses carried out. Along with the physical objects, this allowed us to assess concepts in terms of economy, energy, and culture.

A second group of material concepts were developed further and illustrated. 1:1 work has formed the core work and led to exhibitions, lectures, and publications. A second series of illustrations depict scenarios of transferred technologies and novel sourcing methods and machines that would enable increased reuse.

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Results - in short

New commissions for products and methods confirm the commercial potential; LCAs confirm the assumption of environmental benefits of reuse; and the interest in prototypes and open-source dissemination of results will hopefully inspire the construction sector and users for further cultural development and implementation.

Flowcharts map energy and time consumption

For five cases, all procedures were timed and documented, and full LCA-analyses carried out. Along with the physical objects, this allowed us to assess concepts in terms of economy, energy, and culture.

Prototypes in 1:1

20 concepts were selected to be prototyped in full-scale following criteria including: material categories; feasibility, material amounts, and design aesthetics.

Recycling station

Talented graduate students from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts worked as ‘research interns’ at Vandkunsten. They were given the reuse concepts and designed a community reuse facility. Illustrations by Lena Fedders, Amalie Brandt Opstrup, and Line Tebering.

 

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Concrete is problematic

By comparing the LCAs we can conclude that there are environmental gains by the reuse of building materials, without downcycling them. Concrete, however, continues to be problematic and the results from this research was discouraging. It was both ressource demanding and the final result was unsatisfactory.

Project facts

Facts

Project name: Nordic Built Component Reuse

Category:R&D, Renovation

Client: ENS, Nordic Built

Date: 2014 - 2015

Status: Finished

Number of units: 20 full-scale prototypes, 5 comparative LCAs

Project

Activity: Prototypes, LCA

Job type: Funded

Contact: Søren Nielsen, sn@vandkunst.dk

Project group: Anne-Mette Manelius Greisen, Katrine West Kristensen, Jan Schipull Kauschen, Astrid Kaspersen

Team

Consultant: Genbyg.dk, Asplan Viak AS, Hjellness Consult AS, Malmö Tekniska Högskola