Laboratory for circular building started in Heerlen

Innovation platform for a waste-free construction where the credo applies: 'demolition waste is a design error' says Elma Durmisevic, founder and creator of GTB Lab©.


Buildings that are dynamically and flexibly constructed from reusable materials have an essential driving function in the transition to a circular (building) economy. They serve, as it were, as temporary storage places for valuable building materials. In circular construction, not a brick, not a screw is thrown away. That is the idea behind the Green Transformable Building Lab (GTB Lab©), which will soon be built in Heerlen.


The green strip between the N281 freeway, Antwerpseweg and Woonboulevard Heerlen, located on the 'In de Cramer' industrial estate in Heerlen, is where the GTB Lab© will be built. The permits have been arranged, construction will start soon and the first phase of the GTB Lab© will be ready in the summer of this year.


A different lab every year

The GTB Lab© will look different each time: it will be transformed each year, using only building materials supplied by companies in the construction and industry sectors. In this way, a circular building methodology is developed, tested and demonstrated.

It is a temporary building. The construction partners will receive the building materials back in 10 years.


This makes it an innovative showcase and a tangible example of circular construction and waste-free construction, in which the credo applies: 'demolition waste is a design error', according to Elma Durmisevic, founder of GTB Lab©.


The Lab also shares knowledge and solutions via a virtual knowledge bank for circular construction. This knowledge bank is accessible to everyone in Limburg and contains valuable information for municipalities, corporations and other parties involved in the restructuring task of Parkstad. Smart and future-proof building plays an important role in this. This knowledge base includes design examples, information about materials and reuse potential, financial and business models, but also experiences of other projects in the field of circular construction, such as SUPERLOCAL in Kerkrade.


The cooperation between the parties around the GTB Lab© is important for the regional Implementation Program Circular Building in Parkstad. This theme is so important for Parkstad because it connects a number of central spearheads of the region, such as the large restructuring task (demolition), ambitions in the field of digitalization (Smart Service Campus), energy transition (PALET) and the creation of additional employment.


Elma Durmisevic is the initiator/creator and director of the GTB Lab© and the architect responsible for designing the lab: "I'm delighted that after all the energy and time that has been put into setting up the GTB Lab©, we have finally managed to realize this unique initiative in Parkstad. In all those years, a large community has come together with the business community, research institutes, universities, Woonboulevard Heerlen and the public sector, but without the enormous support of the City Region of Parkstad and IBA Parkstad, the realization of the GTB Lab© would have been impossible. In addition, the Municipality of Heerlen and the Province of Limburg have given the project enormous support," says Elma Durmisevic with satisfaction.

Meeting place

As a regional hub, the GTB Lab© will also be an information and meeting place for circular construction: a showcase for 'innovation in construction', where scientific insights and social requirements and wishes come together. A link will be made, for example, with the businesses on the Woonboulevard to make consumers more aware of the possibilities of sustainability measures.


The GTB Lab© will also provide advice on projects with circular ambitions to demolition companies, the construction industry, designers and building owners. It therefore forms an essential part of the regional circular implementation program that is currently being developed.


Joint effort

The project involves a total investment sum of €1,525,700.

The Green Transformable Building Lab© is being realized and co-financed by various partners from the construction and industry such as De Groot Vroomshoop, Kloeckner Metals ODS NL/Jansen, Pilkington Netherlands, Ammanu LED-Intelligence, Jongen Bouwpartners, Rodeca BV, 4D Architects, Adviesbureau Brekelmans, MJB Groep - Bouwregisseurs, ABT Ingenieurs in Bouwtechniek Staatsbosbeheer, TheNewMakers, Bluedeck, Moooz,.

In addition, Stadsregio Parkstad Limburg, IBA Parkstad, Province of Limburg, Municipality of Heerlen and the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations made a subsidy contribution to the project. Rabobank Parkstad Limburg supported the project in the preparation phase.