Resources and recycling

The presentations by Dr. Ing. Peter Mösle (EPEA GmbH—Part of Drees & Sommer), Antonino Vultaggio (HPP Architekten GmbH) and Nils Nolting (CITYFÖRSTER architecture + urbanism PartGmbB) revealed how and where the circular economy already works in the construction industry. However, they also showed what approaches the stakeholders in the construction industry will have to pursue even more strongly in the future to achieve the vital goals of climate protection by using the available resources responsibly. But how?

Host Benedikt Kraft (DBZ) introduced the panel by asking “How fundamentally do we need to change the understanding of buildings?” The first answers were given by Peter Mösle, who presented the cradle-to-cradle design principle developed by EPEA that considers buildings as raw material depots in which material values are tied up. All components can be recycled and do not have to be disposed of expensively as special waste.

For projects in line with the circular economy, the component catalog becomes the “material passport”, ensuring that all installed parts are documented and can even be included as company assets in company balance sheets or be monetized via new, international online platforms. But according to Mösle, this new approach not only requires all parties to act jointly from the outset, but also a new specialist discipline—the circular engineer, who in all project phases monitors the aspects of circular construction, such as freedom from pollutants, recyclability, dismantlability.

Antonino Vultaggio then presented a construction project which also involves Mösle as a circular engineer. “The Cradle” that HPP is currently realizing in Düsseldorf's Medienhafen is already implementing the cradle-to-cradle principles: single-origin and non-toxic materials not only ensure later dismantlability, but also a healthy working environment.

In addition to recyclability, CITYFÖRSTER's “Recycling House” in Hanover focused on the reuse of (regional!) building materials, as demonstrated by Nils Nolting in his presentation: base plate and facade—the latter was clad with wooden slats from a former sauna—were insulated with foam glass gravel. In keeping with the motto of his presentation: “It's about thinking architecture from the end to the beginning.”

by Eric Sturm