Dream of circular urbanism


In De Architect, Durmisevic distinguishes three dimensions of dynamic buildings: adaptation of space, honorary configuration of construction, separation of material and elements


Circular urbanism

Within this circular urbanism, two directions can be distinguished for the time being. Both offer promising starting points for architecture within the sustainability agenda of IBA Parkstad.

In the first approach, buildings are designed to last for a certain period of time, after which they can be disassembled and rebuilt. They are easy to disassemble when they no longer meet current human needs. Then they are redesigned.

Such buildings are distinguished by their, in Thomas Rau's words, circular potential. The important thing here is that when you disassemble them, the materials will not lose value. The functions form temporary occupations in such buildings. Partitioning walls, for example, can be moved around to adjust the layout.

According to the other view, buildings are open systems that renew themselves. Such buildings adapt to the use that their occupants make of them and move with future changes, for example, thanks to separate entrances to work spaces, open living spaces with columns and missing partitions to the other dwellings.


Thanks to reversible connections, materials and elements can be removed and replaced without damaging them


Dynamic building concepts

In Heerlen, a sustainability lab is being developed as part of the IBA [Internationale Bau Ausstellung in Parkstad]. This so-called GTB Lab acts as a demonstration platform of circular concepts. It shows how to realize circular buildings without producing waste. It also shows how to adapt buildings from one function to another. This is the core of experiments that will take place in the lab.

The lab collaborates with numerous industrial partners from the Netherlands. For example, products will be developed and applied with the construction industry. The lab is also initiating discussions on the logistics of circular construction and the financial models needed to retrieve products. Finally, the lab takes a close look at regulations and develops methods to measure circularity. That way you know you're actually getting back the performance you promised.

The goal of the lab is to transition from static buildings to dynamic buildings. If you design a building as a static product, you do that with a view to a certain function or utilization, says Elma Durmisevic. In fact, you then design it to be demolished. The lab is trying to develop dynamic building concepts. After all, people's lives are not static and architecture should support this life. This puts the transformation of buildings emphatically on the agenda.

Durmisevic distinguishes three dimensions. The spatial transformation of buildings requires dynamic structures with fixed cores and variable elements. For the reconfiguration of technical installations and products, she develops flexible modules and systems. Finally, according to her, a standardization of connections is needed if you want to replace materials without damaging them. With this approach, Durmisevic expects to reduce waste by at least eighty percent and the use of virgin material by at least seventy percent. It also, she says, makes it possible to modify installations without producing waste.

The circular module was developed with complete reversibility in mind.


Laboratory for Green Transformable Building

Client EU Buildings as Material Banks Consortium and Laboratory for Green Transformable Buildings (GTB Lab)

Architect 4D Architects

Design Elma Durmisevic

Structural Advisor Rob Nijse, TU Delft; André Jorissen, TU Eindhoven; Richard Lummen, De Groot Vroomshoop; Jaap van Heijster, Adviesbureau Brekelmans

Installation advisor Jaap Wiedenhoff, ABT

Business model IBA Parkstad / Rabobank

Surface area 100 m2 + expo open deck of 900 m2 (phase 1), 200 m2 (phase 2), 200 m2 (phase 3), 100 m2 (phase 4 )

Contractor Jongen Bouw

Construction Consortium De Groot Vroomshoop, ODS, Pilkington, Amannu, Rodeca, Skeleton, The NewMakers, Bluedack, Staatsbosbeheer, BAM, Moooz

Completion 2020 (phase 1), 2021 (phase 2), 2022 (phase 3), 2023 (phase 4)

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