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Circular Construction – Urban Mining

Future economic and ecological development is strongly connected to the question where our resources for future prosperity come from. As our mines run dry and CO2levels are reaching alarming levels, we need to think radically different in all economic sectors. The building industry alone is responsible for 40% of our solid waste production, for 40% of the use of primary energy resources and for 40% of CO2emissions world-wide. We need to change.

Our natural resources are extracted from the earth and then – in a linear process – disposed of. They are literally consumed rather than being temporarily borrowed from natural or socio-technical circuits. This approach has profound consequences for our planet. Ecosystems are destroyed, the climate is jeopardized, and many resources – such as sand, gravel, copper and zinc will soon no longer be available in economically reasonable terms. Humankind is putting at risk the wellbeing of future generations. If we want our environment to be truly sustainable, we need to stop exploiting and polluting our planet as well as destroying our ecosystem by treating it as a waste disposal site. On the contrary, the built environment could be considered as a depository and future provider of resources, a new mine: the Urban Mine.

Considering the human-made environment as a temporary state within an endless circuit of resources constitutes a radical paradigm shift for the building sector. We urgently need new principles for the construction, disassembly, and constant transformation of the built environment. At the same time, the question must be answered of how to produce new materials without further destruction of our ecosystems. Humankind must manage the shift towards activating the already existing materials in our Urban Mine and bind these mineral and metallic resources through cultivating, breeding, raising, farming, or growing of new substances replacing binders which are non-recycable as well as based on extracted and finite raw materials (such as cement). 

The potential of the existing Urban Mine as a material depot is gigantic. The challenge is to find new technologies to turn those materials in a new generation of sustainable, non-harmful, non-toxic and endlessly recyclable and de-constructable building materials. We also need to find new ways od creating material passports and connect them to a digital cadastral system, so future generations know where which materials will be available in which quantity and where.

The Professorship of Sustainable Construction at KIT is conducting research in the field of circular construction and was able to build several demonstrator buildings applying new findings, methods and principles of construction in order to achieve this goal.

Recent Publications:

       
 
 
 
Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Fakultät für Architektur
Institut Entwerfen und Bautechnik

Fachgebiet Nachhaltiges Bauen
Englerstr. 11, Geb. 11.40, Raum 25
D-76131 Karlsruhe
 
 
 
Recent Publications:  
 

    Ein Gespräch über das Wieder- und Weiterverwenden von Baustoffen

    October 15, 2019

    Isopp, Anne and Felix Heisel (2019). Ein Gespräch über das Wieder- und Weiterverwenden von Baustoffen, in: zuschnitt 19(75): 16–19.

     
     

    Zukunft braucht Kreislauf! Mehr.WERT Pavillon, UMAR & MycoTree in db Deutsche Bauzeitung

    October 11, 2019

    Scharf, Armin (2019). Zukunft braucht Kreislauf. db deutsche bauzeitung, 152. Jahrgang, Ausgabe 09.2019, S.68-70

     
     

    Besser – Anders – Weniger!

    October 10, 2019

    Fachgebiet Nachhaltiges Bauen, Professur Dirk E. Hebel (2019). Besser – Anders – Weniger!, Strategien für suffizienten Wohnungsbau im Bestand. KIT Karlsruhe

     
     

    Was die Natur so bietet

    October 10, 2019

    Hans-Christoph Neidlein (2019). Was die Natur so bietet. (Pilzmyzelium und Bambus, Forschung nach alternativen Baustoffen am Fachgebiet Nachhaltiges Bauen). Süddeutsche Zeitung, Nr. 206, 6. September 2019, 23

     
     

    Calculation and Evaluation of Circularity Indicators for the Built Environment Using the Case Studies of UMAR and Madaster

    October 9, 2019

    Heisel, Felix and Sabine Rau-Oberhuber (2019). Calculation and Evaluation of Circularity Indicators for the Built Environment Using the Case Studies of UMAR and Madaster, in Journal of Cleaner Production 243 (SI Urban Mining): 118482. DOI:10.1016/j.jclepro.2019.118482

     
     

    Materials In Progress

    September 11, 2019

    Peters, Sascha, Diana Drewes, Dirk E. Hebel, Felix Heisel (2019). Waste Vault Pavillon & MycoTree. In Materials in Progress – Innovationen für Designer und Architekten, 62 & 102. Basel, Schweiz: Birkhäuser Verlag

     
     

    Pioneering Construction Materials through Prototypological Research

    August 22, 2019

    Heisel, Felix and Dirk E. Hebel (2019). Pioneering Construction Materials through Prototypological ResearchBiomimetics4(3): 56.

     
     

    Strukturelle Bauteile, gewachsen aus Pilz

    July 1, 2019

    Schütz, Robert (2019). Struktuerelle Bauteile, gewachsen aus Pilz. Recycling MAGAZIN, 74. Jahrgang, Ausgabe 06, S.36-37

     
     

    Bild des Monats

    June 6, 2019

    Braun, Zooey (2019). Bild des MonatsBadische Neueste Nachrichten: 16, 04.06.2019

     
     

    Mit Weniger Mehr Bauen

    June 6, 2019

    Eberhard, Simon (2019). Mit Weniger Mehr BauenHaustech 32 (Mit weniger mehr bauen): 8–13.

     
     

    Verständnis für globale Dimensionen und lokale Auswirkungen

    June 4, 2019

    Hans Fuchs (2019). ‚Begrijp de mondiale dimensies én de lokale effecten‘. In stedebouw & architectuur, 04 2019, 32-35. HB Zwolle, Niederlande: Acquire Publishing bv.

     
     

    Das Raumlabor – UMAR

    April 29, 2019

    Melanie Schlegel (2019) Das Raumlabor. In Garten und Landschaft, 04 2019, 46-49. Münschen, Deutschland: Georg D.W. Callwey GmbH & Co. KG.

     
     

    MycoTree

    March 28, 2019

    Pil, Lut and Ignaas Verpoest (2018) MycoTree. In Fibre-Fixed, Composites in Design, 124-125. Gent, Belgium: Stichting Kunstboek bvba & Design Museum Gent

     
     

    MycoTree

    March 15, 2019

    Frearson, Amy (2018) MycoTree – Designed by Sustainable Construction (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) and Block Research Group (ETH Zürich), Germany and Switzerland. In Beazley Designs of the Year, 56-57. London, UK: Design Museum Publishing

     
     

    UMAR – Urban Mining and Recycling Unit, Dübendorf, Schweiz

    March 6, 2019

    Claus Käpplinger (2019) UMAR – Urban Mining and Recycling Unit, Dübendorf, Schweiz. In architektur.aktuell the art of building, Energy Design 01-02 2019 , 82-93. Wien, Austria: architektur.aktuell GmbH.

     
     

    MycoTree

    March 2, 2019

    Schlesier, Karsten, Felix Heisel, Dirk E. Hebel, Juney Lee, Matthias Rippmann, Tomas Mendez Echenagucia, Andrew Liew, Noelle Paulson, Tom van Mele, Philippe Block, Nazanin Saeidi and Alireza Javadian (2019). MycoTree: Beyond Mining – Urban Growth In: pasajes arquitectura 148 (diseno e innocacion): 148–9.

     
     

    Prototypological Research: Pioneering Construction Materials

    February 28, 2019

    Heisel, Felix, and Dirk E. Hebel (2019) Prototypological Research: Pioneering Construction Materials. In Future Cities Laboratory: Indicia 02, edited by Stephen Cairns and Devisari Tunas, 200–207. Singapore, Singapore: Lars Müller Publishers.

     
     

    Alternative Construction Materials

    February 1, 2019

     
     

    DGNB Report Circular Economy

    January 8, 2019

    Durán, Christine Ruiz, Dr. Christine Lemaitre, Dr. Anna Braune (DGNB e.V.) (2019). DGNB Report Januar 2019, Circular Economy – Kreisläufe schließen, heißt zukunftsfähig sein
     
     

    Die Welt

    January 7, 2019

    Alexandra Trudslev (2018). Versandet, Die Welt, 29.12.2018, Wissen, S.21.

     
     

    Urbane Mine

    January 7, 2019

    Martina Metzner (2018). Urbane MIne: Die Forschungs-Einheit UMAR im Zukunftsgebäude NEST in der Schweiz setzt auf Müll als Baustoff und soll nach fünf Jahren rückgebaut werden können. Materialreport 2019, 12/2018, S.56-57

     
     

    Hochparterre

    November 26, 2018

    Palle Petersen (2018). Die Stadt in 30 Jahren – wer baut sie und woraus, Gespräch mit Dirk Hebel, Hochparterre, Zeitschrift für Architektur, Planung und Design, Ausgabe 11/2018, 51.

     
     

    Urban Mining and Recycling

    November 22, 2018

    XIA Forum (2018). Urban Mining and Recycling, XIA Intelligente Architektur, Zeitschrift für Architektur und Technik, Ausgabe 04-06/2018, 14-15.

     
     

    Tragendes Pilzgewerbe

    October 7, 2018

    Peter Streiff (2018). Tragendes Pilzgewebe, Wohnung und Gesundheit, Zeitschrift für Baubiologie, Ausgabe 10/2018, 52-53.

     
     

    Bauen Reloaded

    July 18, 2018

    Witte, Jutta (2018). Bauen reloaded – Wohnlabor zeigt Ressourcenkreislauf in der Architektur, looKIT, Magazin für Forschung, Lehre, Innovation, Ausgabe 02/2018, 66-68.

     
     

    Ohne verbindliche Recyclingquote geht es nicht

    July 16, 2018

    Geipel, Kaye (2018). Ohne verbindliche Recyclingquote geht es nicht, Bauwelt 14.2018(Recycelt): 24–31.

     
     

    Versuchsarchitektur

    June 11, 2018


    Pestalozzi, Manuel (2018). Versuchsarchitektur, DAB Deutsches Architektenblatt, 106/18, 16-20.

     
     

    Green Steel

    June 11, 2018


    Hebel, Dirk E., Felix Heisel and Alireza Javadian (2017). Green Steel, in Constellation.s: Inhabiting the World, arc en reve d’architecture, Michel Lussault, Francine Fort, Michel Jacques, Fabienne Brugere, and Guillaume le Blanc, 162–167. Bordeaux, France: ACTES SUD.

     
     

    Im Abfall wohnen

    June 11, 2018


    Schönwetter, Christian (2018). Im Afbfall Wohnen: Versuchsgebäude aus recycelten Materialien in Dübendorf, md INTERIOR DESIGN ARCHITECTURE, Zeitschrift, 06/18, 72-74.

     
     

    Addis Ababa Potato Plan

    June 10, 2018


    Heisel, Felix and Raphael Disler (2018). Addis Ababa, in The Potato Plan Collection: 40 Cities through the Lens of Patrick Abercrombie, 22–25. London, UK: nai010 publishers.