As a firm of bio-ecological architects that attaches great importance to sustainability, BAST architects & engineers considers it important to consider the concept of circular construction. In client meetings, we always check how open people are to the idea, and in our contracts we like to include a clause about the principles of circular economy.
With this project, we want to go a step further and build the first circular home in the country. On a remnant plot in Wilsele, for example, we want to close two waiting walls with a demountable building volume that can accommodate multiple functions and changing layouts. This is also the first pilot project of the WoonC, a growing and ambitious network of researchers, companies, governments and civil society organisations that are investigating how circular construction can make living affordable again.
On the one hand, this case allows us to apply the theory we gathered in interim research processes in practice. On the other hand, we would like to bundle and share our results, achievements and experiences on circular building in an inspiring roadmap.
We concluded that the scale of this case and the legal, fiscal and financial context prevented us from attempting a system change for this project.
We managed to use a circular facing brick for the house, in cooperation with Facadeclick. This option proved affordable. Moreover, the manufacturer was able to further optimise its product during the process.
The network created will facilitate the start of future projects and collaborations. Thus, the acquaintances between the actors involved in this project and the topics discussed indirectly lead to new partnerships.
Thanks to this project, we got a clearview on which elements are crucial to bring an innovative cooperation project to a successful end, namely a clear division of tasks and a clear common goal.
MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS LEARNED
At the building level, it is clear that a system change is crucial to match affordability with circular ambitions. With few exceptions, currently the circular variants of certain material choices are always more expensive.
The success of a project depends on how much risk you take. Sometimes it is better to stick closer to what is already known and take several small achievable steps, rather than one (too) big step.
It was very interesting to work with people who each give their own story about circular economy from their own background. By being able and allowed to take time out for such a project, we got a better idea of who is doing what and what is or is not feasible.
17contacts in network
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?
The project itself is not scalable, at least not in the current legal, financial and fiscal circumstances. A system change is definitely needed to make circular construction a truly affordable option for a wider public.
The learning lessons and collaborations that came out of this project do have great added value. The project provided us with a wealth of experiential information which, on the one hand, was incorporated into our organisations by us, our partners and consulted stakeholders, and on the other hand, was disseminated via other collaborations and information moments.