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RoofKIT – the full documentation

We are pleased to finally publish the entire documentation of the RoofKIT project. Many thanks to all project participants, sponsors, to the RoofKIT team and the film team around Pia Berchtold (piapiapia).

RoofKIT was one of 18 entries to the Solar Decathlon Europe 21-22, in which student teams from international colleges and universities each constructed a fully functional building prototype in Wuppertal in the summer of 2022, with which they competed in ten different architectural and structural engineering disciplines. With the RoofKIT project, the team from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology won the Solar Decathlon Europe 21-22. In two and a half years of intensive interdisciplinary teamwork in teaching, research and practice, students and teachers addressed the issues of sustainable resource consumption, renewable energy generation and coexistence in the city of the future from an architectural perspective.

The building prototype is now located on KIT Campus Süd in Karlsruhe – we cordially invite you to register for a public RoofKIT tour here.

KIT Campustag and Reinschauen 2023

On Saturday, May 13, the KIT Campustag will take place again. All KIT faculties will present their study programs and offer great hands-on activities, experiments, guided tours and much more. In addition, there will be a stage on the forum, where a colorful live program will be offered. Various bands, science slam, theater groups, university groups, and many more will show what KIT has to offer besides studies.

The Faculty of Architecture at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology also cordially invites you to its annual exhibition “Reinschauen”. From May 11 to 17, 2023, all professorships, workshops and studios will present works and projects from the past academic year and provide an insight into the range of teaching and research at the faculty. The program includes presentations, short lectures, taster lectures and guided tours.

The Professorship of Sustainable Construction presents its wide-ranging work in teaching, research, exhibitions, events and other projects in the foyer of the 1st floor. The RoofKIT project is also part of this exhibition.

The building prototype of RoofKIT, which has been located on the KIT South Campus since November 2022 (building 30.79, intersection Straße am Forum / Richard-Willstätter-Allee), will open its doors in the context of the Campus Day on May 13 from 1 pm. Team RoofKIT cordially invites you to talk about the project and to have a look at the building prototype.

RoofKIT opening event © Bernd Seeland

WHEN: Saturday, May 13, 2023 from 1PM
WHERE: RoofKIT (building 30.79), intersection Straße am Forum / Richard-Willstätter-Allee

RoofKIT was one of 18 entries to the Solar Decathlon Europe 21-22, in which student teams from international colleges and universities each constructed a fully functional building prototype in Wuppertal in the summer of 2022, with which they competed in ten different architectural and structural engineering disciplines. With the RoofKIT project, the team from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology won the Solar Decathlon Europe 21-22. In two and a half years of intensive interdisciplinary teamwork in teaching, research and practice, students and teachers addressed the issues of sustainable resource consumption, renewable energy generation and coexistence in the city of the future from an architectural perspective.

“NEWood” awarded Umweltpreis 2023 from Sparkasse Pforzheim Calw

The Environmental Foundation of Sparkasse Pforzheim Calw honors four projects with the Umweltpreis 2023. The presentation of the prizes, worth a total of 15,000 euros, took place on March 15, 2023 at the Sparkasse in Calw. The main prize of 7,500 euros was awarded to the team from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) for the “NEWood” project.

Hans Neuweiler, Dr. Alireza Javadian and Dr. Nazanin Saeidi, Prof. Peter Cheret © Stiftung Umweltpreis

The NEWood project is about developing new bio-based, sustainable and renewable materials that can replace conventional wood products, such as particleboard. Most of the currently available wood-based products do not meet the principles of the circular economy. KIT researchers now aim to develop materials that can replace unsustainable wood products in the construction industry. Time is pressing, as forests are threatened by deforestation due to strong demand. In addition, the production of synthetic binders, which require wood products, results in CO2 emissions that accelerate climate change. From an ecological point of view, the pressure on forests should be reduced and industrial greenhouse gas emissions reduced.

The “NEWood” material developed by the KIT team belongs to a new class of biobased, resource-efficient and CO2-negative materials. It is produced exclusively from regionally available organic waste, including agricultural residues. As a sustainable and renewable material, NEWood thus offers an excellent alternative to freshly cut wood. It also has comparable properties to materials made primarily from wood fiber and glue. These include particleboard, medium-density fiberboard or multilayer board. Synthetic binders are not required for NEWood, as the new KIT material is manufactured using fungal mycelium as a natural binder. Mycelium, which is responsible for vegetative growth in fungi, provides a novel, ecologically valuable binding method for wood products. The Karlsruhe researchers are already in contact with industry. They are aiming to found a start-up that will enable the scientific findings on NEWood to be translated into industrial products.

Other award winners were:
Lukas Dufner, research associate at the University of Stuttgart, for the project “Photocatalytic drinking water treatment with sunlight”, which can be used to purify contaminated drinking water in developing countries and regions with poor infrastructure.
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klemens Gintner of the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences (HKA) for the first measurement of breeding parameters, which are important for the breeding of endangered birds.
The municipality of Neuhausen (Enzkreis) for setting up a “WaldKlimaPfad” (ForestClimatePath), which provides information about the consequences of global warming at play and information sites.

Text: Stiftung Umweltpreis

Thanks for ‘Does concrete – in a sustainable world – have a future ?’

On 22nd April, the Professorship of Sustainable Construction was a guest in Hall B0 at the BAU2023 Munich to organise, in cooperation with the KIT Department of Architecture and the Bund Deutscher Architektinnen und Architekten BDA and supported by Wacker Chemie AG, the Symposium on Sustainable Construction “Does Concrete // in a sustainable world // have a future”.

Invited speakers were Prof. Karen Scrivener, Head of the EPFL Laboratory of Construction Materials as well as Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Dehn, Head of the KIT Institute of Concrete Structures and Building Materials, and Koos Schenk, Director of SmartCrusher BV. The event and the panel discussion were moderated by Dr. Thomas Welter, Federal Manager at Bund Deutscher Architektinnen und Architekten (BDA). Prof. Dirk E. Hebel, KIT Professor of Sustainable Construction and Dean of the KIT Department of Architecture, welcomed the audience to the event.

Many thanks to all the speakers for their great performance, for valuable food for thought and interesting links that were created through the symposium.

Between 60 and 100 participants were present at the Forum in Hall B0 at the BAU2023 trade fair in Munich. The recording of the event will be available here shortly.

We would like to sincerely thank all those involved in the event for their commitment and organisational efforts, for the great encounters, conversations and new connections that were created at and through the symposium. Many thanks especially to the team of BAU2023 trade fair and Hall B0 for their great efforts around all events in the context of BAU.

Thank you!

More information about the event here.

KIT Material Library goes BAU2023

At this year’s BAU World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials, Systems in Munich from April 17 to 22, 2023, the KIT Material Library of the Department of Architecture is presented.

An excerpt from the physical sample stock of the material library is shown. On a small exhibition area, some material samples of different material groups, especially materials from secondary raw materials and biological building materials, will be displayed. In addition, the ideas and goals of the already existing cooperation of the Materialbibliothek Deutscher Hochschulen (MDH) are presented.

We cordially invite you and you to stop by at booth 210.B in hall B0 to see the exhibition.

Click here to see the exhibited materials.

Design Studio Master: maKITlab!

A new digital workshop for the KIT Faculty of Architecture

The Faculty of Architecture at KIT urgently needs a new digital workshop. Funds are being made available by KIT for this purpose in order to go into realisation following the semester.

The semester task is to further design, plan and realise a circular replacement building as a digital experimental workshop between the buildings 11.40 and 20.40. The aim is to build a new digital workshop. At the end of the semester, a first building block is to be presented as a real-built mockup with the help of digital tools.

The aim is to provide students with a creative and functional space for digital mockup construction, offering sufficient space for cutting plotters, laser cutters and 3D printers.

The design will be published by the Sustainable Building Professorship together with the Digital Design and Fabrication (DDF) Professorship and the Design of Structures (dos) Professorship. In addition, a professional planning team consisting of the building owner and specialist planners will support the design with their expertise.

Prof. Dirk Hebel, Manuel Rausch, Katharina Blümke, Prof. Riccardo La Magna, David Largueche, Prof. Moritz Dörstelmann

First meeting: 20.04.23
Regular date: Thursday, 10:00 a.m., Building 11.40, R 26
Number of participants: 15 + 3 Erasmus (group work)

Seminar Master: Future-oriented Building Materials

A Research Seminar of the KIT Material Library

The Materials Library of the Faculty of Architecture at KIT, which is currently being reorganised as part of the “Materialbibliothek Deutscher Hochschulen” cooperation, offers an extensive collection of materials that, in addition to conventional building materials, focuses on building materials made from secondary raw materials, alternative biotic raw materials and recyclable building materials.

As a pioneer of sustainable building, this special group of materials makes it possible for future generations of architects to understand the value of purity, the necessity of using secondary materials and the preservation of value in the case of reuse or recycling.

In the research seminar Future-oriented Building Materials, Master’s students gain a detailed insight into this class of novel, endlessly circulating building materials. The seminar is accompanied by individual supervision, joint discussion rounds on specific topics, input lectures and excursions. However, the focus is on the students’ independent scientific research work, which aims to provide detailed descriptions of the materials. In this context, the students can work on the new KIT material database and enter data directly. In this way, the students are actively involved in building up the database. The seminar will conclude with an exhibition in the materials library. On display will be the data sets created by the students with the corresponding material samples of innovative, sustainable materials for the construction industry.

First Meeting: 25.04.23
Regular date: Tuesday, 10:00 a.m., Building 11.40, R 26
Excursion: 16.05.23 (more planned)
Participants: 12 master students

Seminar Week: Hand & Material

A round trip among traditional and future building 

In the seminar week we want to take a round trip between traditional and future building methods and explore the connections of hand and material.

We want to look at new manufacturing techniques in craftsmanship and technology, their interdependencies and dare a look into the future of construction towards digital fabrication. The journey will take us from Karlsruhe, via Stuttgart to the alpine foothills and then via Zurich and Laufen back to Baden. 

Some of the costs will have to be covered by the students themselves. We are striving to keep this part as low as possible.

Karlsruhe, Kernen, Reutlingen, Bregenz, Reuthe, Andelsbuch, Schlins, Lustenau, Winterthur, Dübendorf, Zürich, Laufen, Karlsruhe.

Number of Participants:
20 students, Bachelor / Master

arte 42: Are we being ruled by mushrooms?

This question is explored in an episode of “42-Die Antwort auf fast alles” produced by Hessischer Rundfunk.

The director writes: Fungi have hardly been researched. Yet they are among the oldest and most diverse forms of life on our planet. Only through fungi could plants develop ages ago. They are at home everywhere: in the earth, in the air, in our bodies. And they form huge networks. They are intelligent, although they do not have a brain of their own. They make decisions and trade with the plants they live with. They take possession of insect bodies and turn them into zombies. Are fungi the secret rulers of the planet? (text: HR)

Nazanin Saeidi in “42 – Die Antwort auf fast alles” © Hessischer Rundfunk

In this context, not only Dr. Nazanin Saeidi from the Sustainable Construction professorship is interviewed, but also the biologist Merlin Sheldrake, Francois Buscot from the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig and the political scientist Astrid Séville are invited to talk on the program.

Does concrete // in a sustainable world // have a future ?

The KIT Department of Architecture will be holding a symposium as part of this year’s “BAU2023 – World’s Leading Trade Fair for Architecture, Materials, Systems”, which will take place in Munich from 17 to 22 April. The event will take place on 21 April from 12.00 to 13.30 in Hall B0, a hall with the motto “Investing in the Future”.

In this event, a discourse on the current problems in the use of concrete will be stimulated, the current and future possibilities of recycling old concrete into new concrete will be discussed as well as new application concepts and production formulations for concrete. It will be held in English.

Prof. Karen Scrivener, Head of EPFL Laboratory of Construction Materials, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Dehn, Head of KIT Institute of Concrete Structures and Building Materials and Koos Schenk, founder and director of SmartCrusher BV, are invited as speakers. Prof. Dirk E. Hebel will welcome the audience and introduce the speakers. The panel discussion after the lectures will be moderated by Dr. Thomas Welter, BDA federal manager.


Prof. Dirk E. Hebel, KIT Department of Architecture, Professor of Sustainable Construction 

Prof. Karen Scrivener, EPFL Laboratory of Construction Materials, Head of Laboratory 

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Frank Dehn, KIT Institute of Concrete Structures and Building Materials, Head of Institute 

Koos Schenk, SmartCrusher BV, Director 

Dr. Thomas Welter (BDA), Moderator of Panel Discussion

We are very much looking forward to meeting you there!

The event is organized by the KIT Professorship of Sustainable Construction and kindly supported by Wacker Chemie AG.

Find out more about the symposium on the Symposium Event Page of the KIT Department of Architecture or on the Website of BAU2023 Munich.

NEWood awarded with competitionline CAMPUS Award 2023

© KIT Professorship Sustainable Construction

165 projects from 54 universities took part in this year’s competitionline CAMPUS Award. The spectrum of topics ranged from utopias for urban development and material studies to adaptive architecture and after-use strategies. The proportion of projects dealing with sustainable design tasks such as the conversion of existing buildings, climate adaptation in cities or research into alternative materials was particularly high.

In addition to two student award-winning projects, which went to the TU Munich and Leibniz Universität Hannover, and two award-winning final theses from the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf and the University of Stuttgart, one faculty project also received an award.

From nine projects submitted, the jury selected the work “NEWood, a 100% bio-based, sustainable and recyclable material alternative to wood-based products” as the winner. The research by the Institute of Design and Construction Technology at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology resulted in the “development of a new class of bio-based, resource-efficient and CO2-negative materials.” As an alternative to particleboard, MDF and OSB, the boards are made exclusively from wood and agricultural waste. Mushroom mycelium is used as a natural binder, so no synthetic binders are required.

The research project shows that NEWood has comparable properties to wood-based materials such as MDF, OSB and particleboard. The use of mycelium, the structural part of fungi, is a novel bonding method that enables the production of a 100% bio-based and fully recyclable alternative to wood-based materials. The project team, consisting of Dr. Alireza Javadian, Dr. Nazanin Saeidi and Prof. Dirk E. Hebel, is convinced that “NEWood” will be a sustainable alternative to conventional MDF and particleboard and has the potential to initiate a paradigm shift in the way we produce our future building materials in terms of the circular economy without leaving any waste behind.

More information here.

RoofKIT awarded with a recognition of the “Architekturpreis Gebäudeintegrierte Solartechnik 2022”

The “Architekturpreis Gebäudeintegrierte Solartechnik 2022” awards projects that provide outstanding impetus for the planning and design of building-integrated solar systems and draw attention to exemplary solutions in sophisticated architecture. According to the jury, the award-winning projects show that the integration of photovoltaic modules and solar thermal collectors can succeed with equally high design and technical ambition.

© Solarenergieförderverein Bayern e.V.

In the RoofKIT project, six high-format standard modules were expanded into photovoltaic-technical hybrid modules. As part of a coherent overall concept, the handling of the PV roof also demonstrates integration into the building design and urban context.

More information here.

Learn where you want

This pavilion at KIT (Karlsruhe Institute of Technology) shows with sustainable construction how learning and lingering on campus can look like. The project emerged from the impromptu of the Professorship of Sustainable Construction “Learn where you want” in the winter semester 2020/21.

With this interdisciplinary pilot project, students have ventured a step into the future of university life together with the Professorships of Sustainable Construction (IEB) and Construction Technology (IEB), the Sustainability Office (SEK), the Technology House (TEC), and the Real Estate Management (IM) of the KIT. The sustainable development of the university campus is focused on increasing the quality of staying and creating informal learning places. The overall motto is the creation of a “marketplace of knowledge”.

Local products, reversible joining methods and elements from the urban mine contribute to circular construction with a mono-material design.

Open to appropriation, the pavilion offers several levels at different heights for sitting, lingering and learning. The structural framework develops windmill-like from a multifunctional core element to the outside and gives the learning place its distinctive identity. The open structure encourages exchange and allows interaction with the surrounding green spaces.

Text and Photography: Dominic Faltien

WDR planet wissen: The battle for sand

© planet wissen, WDR

Sand is one of the most sought-after raw materials in the world. The global demand for sand is gigantic and has tripled in the past 20 years. Sand is in the concrete of booming megacities around the world and is important in coastal protection. How do we have to build so that cities can continue to grow in the future?

This and many other questions are addressed in the current edition of Planet Wissen, “The battle for sand – new ways of dealing with the coveted raw material. In the second half of the episode, Prof. Dirk E. Hebel from KIT is a guest in the studio with the moderator Jo Hiller and reports on recycling-friendly construction, single-variety, degradable construction, and alternative building materials such as bamboo or mycelium.

Helmholtz: How we build in the future

In the article “How we build in the future”, the Helmholtz Association presents sustainable, climate-friendly solutions from architecture and construction research. In this context, Prof. Dirk E. Hebel presents the RoofKIT project of the KIT Faculty of Architecture as an innovative lighthouse project for circular justice, purity of types, recycling and reuse, and the resource-friendly handling of materials.

Concrete as a building material is then critically examined. Prof. Frank Dehn, Institute Director at the KIT Civil Engineering Faculty, is researching climate-friendly alternatives and the use of old concrete. In addition, other forward-looking topics such as the “sponge city” and the energy supply of future buildings are highlighted.

Read the full article here.

Gernot Minke: Building with Bamboo

© Birkhäuser Verlag

The new book by Gernot Minke entitled “Building with Bamboo – Design and Technology of a Sustainable Architecture” was recently published by Birkhäuser Verlag. In addition to material information and properties, it also contains application examples from research and practice. In the chapter “Reinforcing with Bamboo”, among other things, research projects of the Sustainable Construction Professorship at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology are presented.

“Plastic: Remaking Our World” at V&A Dundee in Scotland

The exhibition Plastic: Remaking Our World, which was initially on show at the Vitra Design Museum in Weil am Rhein, will be on display at the V&A Dundee in Scotland from 29 October 2022 until 5 February 2023.

The exhibition examines the history and the future of this controversial material. From its early origins when it was intended as a sustainable alternative to natural resources, to its meteoric rise in the twentieth century.

More information here.

Prof. Dirk E. Hebel speaks at the Parliamentary Evening at the Deutsche Bundestag Berlin

Climate change is becoming a particular challenge for our urban life: our cities heat up particularly strongly in summer, and extreme weather such as heavy rainfall pushes infrastructure to its limits. Worldwide, almost 60 percent of people live in urbanized settlements, and the number is steadily increasing. As global temperatures continue to rise, so do the challenges facing cities and the people who live in them. In Berlin on November 8th 2022, several scientists talked and elaborated on the question of how to design and adapt our cities for such challenges ahead. The parliamentary evening was organizezed by Helmholtz SynCom.

RoofKIT: Welcome to Karlsruhe!

RoofKIT, the Karlsruhe winning project of the Solar Decathlon 2021/22 was re-located and re-errected in Karlsruhe on Wednesday 09 November 2022. Under the supervision of the project management, the wooden modules were dismantled in Wuppertal within two days, transported to Karlsruhe and now reassembled by the experienced carpenters of Kaufmann Zimmerei und Tischlerei in cooperation with the KIT Solar Decathlon team.

About the project:
The Karlsruhe Institute of Technology participated in the 2021/22 Solar Decathlon Competition in Wuppertal, Germany with its project RoofKIT. Designed as a top-up to an existing structure, it demonstrates a vision for the building industry: social adequate, energy positive and circular sustainable. Since 2020, more than 100 students from KIT within different faculties and under the leadership of the professorships of Sustainable Construction (Prof. Dirk E. Hebel) and Building Technologies (Prof. Andreas Wagner) worked on the project which cumulated in the construction of the House Demonstration Unit in May and June 2022 in Wuppertal, Germany.

Video: Daniel Lenz and Katharina Blümke, Professorship Sustainable Construction, KIT
cut: Elena Boerman, Professorship Sustainable Construction, KIT

For the next three years, the housing unit can be visited on the campus of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Straße am Forum/Richard-Willstädter-Allee). Furthermore, from spring 2023 onwards, research projects subsequent to SDE 21/22 are planned by the Professorship of Building Technology in cooperation with the Professorship of Intelligent Living.

More information about RoofKIT here.

Prof. Dirk E. Hebel meets Kassem Taher Saleh, Member of the German Bundestag in Berlin

On Monday, 7 November, Dirk E. Hebel was invited to the Bundestag by Kassem Taher Saleh, Member of the German Parliament and Chairman of the Committee on Housing, Urban Development, Construction and Municipalities, to discuss which recommendations for political action can be derived from Dirk E. Hebel’s research. Mr Saleh, a civil engineer by profession and member of Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, was particularly interested in wood as a building material along the entire value chain (raw material availability and end-of-life scenarios) and strategies for a truely circular economy in the building sector.

Kassem Taher Saleh and Prof. Dirk E. Hebel, Foto: Marie Heidenreich/SynCom Helmholtz

Expert discussion on “Innovative and sustainable building materials” of the Green parliamentary group in the state parliament of Baden-Württemberg in Stuttgart

At the expert discussion on “Innovative and Sustainable Building Materials” of the Green parliamentary group in the state parliament, to which Gudula Achterberg, member of the Heilbronn state parliament and member of the working group and committee on state development and housing, had invited on 21st October, science and practice met and identified future tasks for building and housing.

The speakers from science and research as well as from construction practice were united by the realisation that the current crises and global interdependencies can also accelerate developments in construction.

Keynote speaker Professor Werner Sobek received the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in May as a thought leader for the built environment of tomorrow. The multi-award-winning engineer and architect insists on honest balancing when it comes to innovative and sustainable building materials: when it comes to the consumption of resources, be it sand, gravel, fossil fuels or precious metals. One of the other speakers advocated, for example, the introduction of a building type E for “experimental” for lighthouse projects, for which simplified standards apply in order to facilitate innovation. Dr Anne Braune from the German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) advocated the use of pure, sustainable building materials and suggested as a parameter for approval: My building should emit a certain amount of CO 2 per square metre per year. She advocated looking “in the package insert” for building materials and for service life-adapted construction.

Dr Nazanin Saeidi, a researcher at the KIT Sustainable Building Professorship, presented an example of innovative building materials. Based on fungi, the award-winning material NeWood is suitable as a substitute for pressboard or for insulation. It is made from 100 per cent organic waste and is recyclable.

The event showed many developments that can and must revolutionise the way we build in the future. Nevertheless, the familiar and the tried and tested can help to overcome upcoming challenges in the construction industry.

Exhibition “Plastic: Remaking Our World” now at V&A Dundee in Scotland

The exhibition Plastic: Remaking Our World, which was initially on show at the Vitra Design Museum, will be on display at the V&A Dundee in Scotland from 29 October 2022. The contribution of the Sustainable Building Professorship will also travel from Weil am Rhein to Dundee.

Plastic: Remaking Our World will again feature prototypes, new technologies, and cutting-edge materials as designers grapple with a material that has changed our world. 

The exhibition will feature product design, graphics, architecture and fashion from the collections of the V&A and Vitra Design Museum, as well as collections all over the world. This is the first exhibition produced and curated by V&A Dundee, the Vitra Design Museum and maat, Lisbon, with curators from V&A South Kensington.

© Vitra Design Museum

Team RoofKIT presents their project at IGB

Two members of the RoofKIT team, Katharina Knoop and Johannes Hasselmann, had the opportunity to present the RoofKIT project and the Solar Decathlon at the Ingenieurgruppe Bauen (IGB) in Karlsruhe last Thursday.

All the listeners were very interested in the topics the two presented and were particularly impressed by the team spirit and the continuing enthusiasm and motivation. The event was able to show the company new perspectives for everyday work and planning.

RoofKIT in Re: on arte – How mycelium researchers are working on the future

In this report, arte investigates the power of mushrooms and visits various actors. A Swiss mushroom expert, for example, wants to restore polluted soils. Researchers are also working together with students on a biological packaging material made from mushrooms. Mushroom leather or stable insulation and building materials are also examined in this episode of Re:.

The reporters also visit the Solar Decathlon in Wuppertal. Prof. Dirk E. Hebel explains why the mushroom, as a biologically renewable raw material, could become an important component of the future sustainable construction industry within planetary boundaries and in line with the European Green Deal.

Re: Mehr als Hut und Stiel © arte

Building Better – Less – Different: Circular Construction and Circular Economy

Published in October 2022, edited by Dirk E. Hebel, Felix Heisel with Ken Webster

Cover © Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH, Basel 2022

Sustainability is to become the guiding principle of social action and economic activity. At the same time, its ways and means are far from clear. As a holistic praxis, sustainability must combine technical and material as well as social, economic, ecological and also ethical strategies, which have multiple complex interactions and all too often also conflicting goals and priorities. In no other field can these be better observed, addressed and influenced than in architecture and building.

Each volume of “Building Better – Less – Different” details two fundamental areas of sustainability and explores their specific dynamics and interactions. After introductory overviews, innovative methods and current developments are described and analysed in in-depth essays, international case studies and pointed commentaries. The sustainability criteria of efficiency (“better’”), sufficiency (“less”‘) and consistency (‘different”) form the framework for each book.

The first volume “CIRCULAR BUILDING AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY” presents concepts, methods and examples of circularity in construction and the economy. Urban mining and circular construction are two approaches to the changes that architecture and urban design are facing, using techniques such as mono-material construction and design for disassembly, and tools such as material passports and databases. The circular economy is not solely about recycling but encompasses a wide range of strategies from local community projects to new ownership and service models and steering mechanisms such as carbon fees and dividends.

More information about the publication on www.degruyter.com.

MycoTree in the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe

As part of the 17th “Karlsruher Frischpilzausstellung” of the Natural History Museum in Karlsruhe, the MycoTree was exhibited in the pavilion in the Nymphengarten on the 8th and 9th October. The exhibition displayed 250-300 species of mushrooms and presented various literature on mushrooms. The weekend exhibition was visited by almost 1300 people interested in mushrooms.

The MycoTree, a spatial structure made of the cultivated materials mushroom mycelium and bamboo, supplemented the exhibition with the topic area ‘Building materials from natural resources’. At 2 p.m. on both days, Sandra Böhm and Elena Boerman gave a short lecture on the exhibited project, which was created in 2017 as a cooperation project between the KIT Sustainable Building Professorship and the Block Research Group of ETH Zurich.

The assembled elements of the MycoTree can be disassembled again into their original materials and returned to the natural cycle as nutrients. In this way, it shows how digital design, technology and resource-saving materials could come together in the building industry in the future.

Süddeutsche Zeitung reports about RoofKIT

How can we build in an environmentally friendly way and redensify city districts in a sensible way? Süddeutsche Zeitung reports about the winning design of the Solar Decathlon 21/22.

The project was supervised by Prof. Dirk E. Hebel and Prof. Andreas Wagner at KIT.

© Süddeutsche Zeitung

Welt am Sonntag reports about mycelium as a building material

Mushrooms can be used to grow insulations or renewable “bricks”. This could lead to ecologically clean buildings in the future.

Welt am Sonntag reports about scientists like Prof. Dirk E. Hebel working in laboratories on the possibility of replacing metals or mineral materials with harvested materials like mycelium, the root network of mushrooms.

© Welt am Sonntag

Design Studio Bachelor: Circular City: Heidelberg

Resource-efficient housing concepts for a growing city

Cities play a crucial role in the struggle for a sustainable and climate-friendly future. This is where housing, production, trade, transport and energy consumption all come together. In addition, our cities are gigantic stores of raw materials. In some areas, the resources tied up in the current building stock have long since exceeded the raw material deposits that can be reached with reasonable effort in the earth’s crust. This urban mine needs to be tapped.

The city of Heidelberg has set itself ambitious sustainability goals and wants to lead the way as a pioneer of the circular economy in urban development and urban planning. To this end, among other things, the project “Circular City – Building Material Cadastre for the City of Heidelberg” was launched, with which the city is relying on the urban mining principle. The building stock is being successively recorded and analyzed so that the data obtained can be made available to planners.

This semester, we will investigate how the application of circular building production and the use of materials from urban mining can succeed architecturally, using different design locations in Heidelberg. 

The design will take place in collaboration with the integrated disciplines of structural engineering (Prof. Riccardo La Magna), FBTA (Prof. Andreas Wagner), and building economics (Hon. Prof. Kai Fischer).

1st meeting: 26.10.22 in the studio
Interim critique: 14./15.12.2022
Table critique: 25./26.01.2023
Submission/Presentation: 23.02.2023

Design Studio Master: BauTechKIT

A laboratory for future building

The Faculty of Architecture and the Department IV Natural and Built Environment of KIT have set themselves the goal to become a pioneer of circular and sustainable building in Germany and Europe. This requires a new research, teaching and experimental laboratory for future building, in which research, teaching and practical applications can be interlinked and practiced. 

Topics of sustainable building should not only be researched, but the building should already show and demonstrate them. The laboratory is to become a showcase for research into future building for the entire society and an attractor for the city of Karlsruhe.

The semester task is to develop a construction laboratory located in area 10 on the south campus. An urban planning study is part of the task. A large ground-level hall is required, in which new possibilities for future construction will be researched with the help of digital manufacturing processes and robotics, and experimental buildings will be erected. Above the hall, teaching and learning spaces for students and researchers are to be created with common zones for exchange and networking.  On the roof area, individual research and innovation modules are to be installed according to the “plug-in” principle and can be dismantled again simply and easily. People will live and work in these changing units, so that they serve as busy experimental laboratories and at the same time shape and constantly change the appearance of the building.

Day and time: Thursdays, 9:00
1st meeting: 27.10.2022
Excursion to Zurich on 04.11.2022

Seminar: Circular component analysis

The deconstruction friendliness of a construction and the reusability of materials are decisive parameters for circular planning and building. For high-quality recycling and reuse of materials, material layers as well as components must be planned and installed in a detachable way. The aim of the seminar is to determine the qualitative material value of a separated component and to present it graphically, as well as to find new joining techniques. From the analysis, conclusions are to be drawn for the planning of new circular component constructions as well as to show ways for the design of alternative joining techniques. The analysis of the components is planned in a group work of two persons each.

Day and Time: Wednesdays, 13.30 – 15.00
First meeting: 26.10.22

Lecture Series MATERIALS 22/23

In the Winter Semester 2022/23, the KIT Department of Architecture will offer a lecture series on Materials, organized by the chair of Sustainable Construction, Dirk E. Hebel. In total 11 lectures will address conventional and alternative building materials and their use in construction. Speakers are: Andrea Klinge, Kay Sanvito, Peter Schöffel, Nazanin Saeidi, Alireza Javadian, Elena Boerman and Sandra Böhm. Please refer to the poster for actual dates. The lecture is held every Friday, 9.45 am at the Egon Eiermann HS in the building 20.40 at KIT Campus South.

Poster Design: Uta Bogenrieder


In the Winter Semester 2022/23, the KIT Department of Architecture will offer a lecture series on Sustainable Construction, organized by the Professorship of Sustainable Construction, Dirk E. Hebel. In total 12 lectures he will address the history, state of the art, and alternative futures within the theme. Please refer to the poster for actual dates. The lecture is held every Wednesday, 9.45 am in the HS37 in the building 20.40 at KIT Campus South.

Poster Design: Uta Bogenrieder

Professorship of Sustainable Construction wins the DGNB Sustainability Challenge with the project “NEWood”

The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) announced the winners of this year’s Sustainability Challenge at the DGNB Sustainability Day in Fellbach on 8 July. In the category “Research”, the project “NEWood” lead by Nazanin Saeidi and Alireza Javadian from the Professorship of Sustainable Construction Dirk E. Hebel at KIT in Karlsruhe, came out on top.

The project NEWood wins category “Research” of DGNB Sustainability Challenge led by Nazanin Saeidi and Alireza Javadian © DGNB

Among the start-ups, the jury chose mygreentop. The “Innovation” category was won by Home Power Solutions with picea. The audience award went to the research project “Kalkspeicher” from the German Aerospace Centre (DLR). A total of more than 100 projects and companies entered the DGNB Sustainability Challenge this year.

The selection of the award winners in the DGNB Sustainability Challenge was different this year than in the past. In addition to the finalists, the eleven-member jury also directly determined the winners in the categories “Innovation”, “Start-up” and “Research”.

“The decision was enormously difficult for us as a jury,” says Dr. Christine Lemaitre, Executive Director of the DGNB and part of the selection committee. “All the finalists presented themselves excellently, which is why I can only congratulate them all. They are the best proof that there are smart, forward-thinking people in our industry who can combine sustainability with innovation.”

NEWood exhibition table © Professorship of Sustainable Construction

The “NEWood” project is a novel class of bio-based, resource-efficient and CO2-negative materials based on mycelium. Since NEWood shows comparable properties to MDF and chipboard, it serves as a substitute for wood and wood-based materials. The wood alternative is developed exclusively from available organic waste, including wood and agricultural waste, and is manufactured using fungal mycelium as a natural binder.

This year, the jury was made up of Dr Anna Braune (DGNB), Gerhard Breitschaft (Deutsches Institut für Bautechnik), Dominik Campanella (Concular), Prof. Moritz Fleischmann (Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences), Prof. Andrea Klinge (ZRS Architekten), Dr Christine Lemaitre (DGNB), Martin Prösler (Proesler Kommunikation), Martin Rodeck (EDGE Technologies), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ing. Anja Rosen (Bergische Universität Wuppertal), Prof. Dr.-Ing. Patrick Teuffel (Eindhoven University of Technology), and Prof. Meike Weber (Hildesheim University of Applied Sciences and Arts).

More information on all award winners and finalists is available online in the DGNB press release or on the DGNB blog. (Text © DGNB)

Ausbau – Stegreif: Konrad Kocher Schule Ditzingen

08.07. / 09.07. / 11.07. / 23.07.
Termine jeweils von 8 – 19 Uhr

Rückfragen und Anmeldung an jonas.laeufer@kit.edu

Im Juli 2022 steht der Abriss des Hauptschulgebäudes der Konrad Kocher Schule in Ditzingen an. Ein ganz normaler Prozess im heutigen Baugeschehen. Die Stadt hat entschieden, die Schule entspricht nicht mehr den heutigen Ansprüchen, ein Wettbewerb für den Neubau einer Schule wurde ausgelobt, der Gewinner hat den Auftrag für das Projekt bekommen.

Viele Tonnen Baustoffe werden durch diese Entscheidung freigesetzt und nach dem üblichen Vorgang auf die Deponie befördert, recycelt oder thermisch verwertet. Vor zwei Wochen kam die Zusage der Stadt und des beauftragten Abbruchunternehmens, dass Material ausgebaut werden darf – der Abriss steht in vier Wochen an.

Ganz nach dem Motto „viele Hände, schnelles Ende“ wollen wir zusammen so viele Materialien wie möglich direkt oder indirekt „retten“ und so einen eigenen kleinen Beitrag zur Zirkulariserung leisten.

Als freies Kollektiv für zirkuläres Bauen ruft der Baukreisel gemeinsam mit dem Lehrstuhl für Nachhaltiges Bauen am KIT einen Ausbau Stegreif aus, um zusammen mit Studierenden die Linearität zu brechen und im Sinn der Kreislaufwirtschaft zu handeln. Hierbei geht es um das Katalogisieren und den Abbau der Materialien vor Ort, aber auch um die Planung, Logistik und Wiederverwendung der Materialien. Konkret sollen Materialien sowohl zur Wiederverwendung im Bau vorbereitet werden (Beispiel: Böden, Waschbecken, Armaturen) als auch für einen neue Nutzungsart aufbereitet werden (Beispiel: aus Türen entstehen Möbel). So wird neben der handwerklichen Abbauerfahrung auch die wirtschaftliche und gestalterische Komponente der Zirkularität beleuchtet.

Der Ausbau Stegreif wird an zwei Wochenenden in der ehemaligen Hauptschule in Ditzingen stattfinden. Ziel des Stegreifs ist es das Ausbauen und Katalogisieren von obsoleten Baumaterialen zu erproben. Das geborgene Material wird anschließend gelagert und soll im Herbst für eine Möbelserie und weitere Objekte verwendet werden.

Die Entwürfe können voraussichtlich in einem weiteren Stegreif erarbeitet werden.

08.07. / 09.07. / 11.07. / 23.07.
Termine jeweils von 8 – 19 Uhr

Rückfragen und Anmeldung an jonas.laeufer@kit.edu

Team RoofKIT wins the Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 in Wuppertal

On Friday 24 June at about 6 pm, the time had finally come – the Competition Director of the Solar Decathlon Europe 2021/22, Karsten Voss, in Wuppertal announced the winning team of the student competition: Team RoofKIT from Karlsruhe! The team was very surprised about this development and expressed their relief, happiness and pride. The moment of the announcement was captured on video by SDE 2021/22:

Second place in the overall competition was taken by Team Virtue from Eindhoven, and third place was shared by Team SUM from Delft and Team Aura from Grenoble. On the website of the SDE 2021/22, all other placements and the intermediate results and awards of the competition can be viewed.

After the award ceremony, Team RoofKIT was visited by WDR and the winning house was shown live on WDR’s Lokalzeit (approx. from minute 20), where some team members were also interviewed about the project.

The Professorship of Sustainable Construction and the Professorship of Building Physics would like to thank all the students and staff of Team RoofKIT and congratulate them on this great competition result!

RoofKIT wins 1st in out-of-competition category “Sustainable Architectural Lighting Award” at Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 in Wuppertal

© SDE 2021/22

RoofKIT wins 2nd in category “Innovation” at Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 in Wuppertal

RoofKIT wins 2nd in out-of-competition category “German Sustainability Housing Award” at Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 in Wuppertal

RoofKIT wins 3rd in out-of-competition category “Green BIM Award” at Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 in Wuppertal

Karlsruher Institut für Technologie
Fakultät für Architektur
Institut Entwerfen und Bautechnik

Professur Nachhaltiges Bauen
Englerstr. 11, Geb. 11.40, Raum 25
D-76131 Karlsruhe
Tel: +49 (0)721/608-42167
Recent Publications:  

    Vivid Cycles: Reopening of RoofKIT on the KIT Campus

    May 17, 2023

    Lux, Katharina. “Anschauliche Kreisläufe: Wiedereröffnung Des RoofKIT Auf Dem KIT Campus.” Baunetz CAMPUS(blog), May 16, 2023. https://www.baunetz-campus.de/news/anschauliche-kreislaeufe-wiedereroeffnung-des-roofkit-auf-dem-campus-8235818.


    Solar and Circular Construction

    May 15, 2023

    Wagner, Prof. Andreas, Nicolás Carbonare, Regina Gebauer, Prof. Dirk E. Hebel, Katharina Knoop, and Michelle Montnacher, eds. “RoofKIT.” In Solares und kreislaufgerechtes Bauen, 186–213. Wuppertal: PinguinDruck, 2023.


    The built environment as a Resource

    April 5, 2023

    Blümke, Katharina, Elena Boerman, Daniel Lenz, and Riklef Rambow. “Die gebaute Umwelt als Ressource – Mit RoofKIT vom linearen zum zirkulären Verständnis des Bauens.” ASF Journal, March 28, 2023.


    Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22

    March 29, 2023

    Voss, Karsten, and Katharina Simon, editors. Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22: Competition Source Book. 2023.


    Mushrooms as a promising building material of the future

    February 1, 2023

    Wenk, Holger. “Pilze Als Vielversprechender Baustoff Der Zukunft.” BG Bau Aktuell – Arbeitsschutz Für Unternehmen, vol. 04/22, no. Rohbau, Sept. 2022, pp. 12–13.


    Go into the mushrooms

    December 20, 2022

    Jeroch, Theresa. “In Die Pilze Gehen.” Die Architekt, November 2022.


    How we build in the future

    December 15, 2022

    Niederstadt, Jenny. “Wie Wir in Zukunft Bauen.” Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, December 12, 2022. https://www.helmholtz.de/newsroom/artikel/wie-wir-in-zukunft-bauen/.


    The RoofKIT project as a demonstrator of solutions for today and tomorrow

    December 15, 2022

    RoofKIT, Karlsruhe. “Le Projet RoofKIT Comme Démonstrateur de Solutions Pour Aujourd’hui et Demain.” Translated by Régis Bigot. NEOMAG, December 2022.


    Interview: Will we be building houses from mycelium in the future?

    December 14, 2022

    Niederstadt, Jenny, and Dirk E. Hebel. Bauen wir künftig Häuser aus Pilz? Helmholtz-Gemeinschaft, December 12, 2022. https://www.helmholtz.de/newsroom/artikel/bauen-wir-kuenftig-haeuser-aus-pilz/.


    Where fungi become building materials

    December 14, 2022

    Blaue, Carsten. “Wo Pilze Zu Baustoffen Werden.” Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, December 6, 2022, Nr. 282 edition. https://www.rnz.de/region/metropolregion-mannheim_artikel,-karlsruher-kit-wo-pilze-zu-baustoffen-werden-_arid,1015503.html.


    RoofKIT: Award-winning vision from Karlsruhe

    November 16, 2022

    Baden-Württemberg Stiftung GmbH. “RoofKIT: Preisgekrönte Vision aus Karlsruhe.” PERSPEKTIVEN, October 2022.


    Building connects: International Cooperation at the KIT Department of Architecture

    November 2, 2022

    Justus Hartlieb, “Bauen Verbindet: Internationale Zusammenarbeit an der KIT-Fakultät für Architektur”, LookKITINTERNATIONAL, no. 03/2022 (November 2022).


    Building Stock as a Resource

    October 19, 2022

    Lenz, Daniel, Elena Boerman, and Dirk E. Hebel. 2022. “Gebäudebestand als Ressource.” nbau, no. 03/2022 (Oktober). https://www.nbau.org/2022/10/12/gebaeudebestand-als-ressource/.


    Building Better – Less – Different: Circular Construction and Circular Economy

    October 11, 2022

    Hebel, Dirk E., Felix Heisel and Ken Webster, eds. Building Better – Less – Different: Circular Construction and Circular Economy. Building Better Less Different 1. Basel: Birkhäuser Verlag GmbH, 2022.


    Ideas for the Future

    September 21, 2022

    Klaaßen, Lars. 2022. “Ideen Für Die Zukunft.” Süddeutsche Zeitung, September 17, 2022.


    A building material stands in the woods

    September 21, 2022

    Grossarth, Jan. 2022. “Ein Baustoff Steht Im Walde.” Welt Am Sonntag, September 11, 2022.


    RoofKIT – KIT wins Solar Decathlon 2021/22 with climate neutral roof extension

    September 16, 2022

    Lenz, Daniel, Luciana Alanis, Nicolas Carbonare, Regina Gebauer, Andreas Wagner, and Dirk E. Hebel. 2022. “RoofKIT – KIT Gewinnt Beim Solar Decathlon 2021/22 Mit Klimaneutraler Dachaufstockung.” AIT, no. 9.2022 (September): 36–40. https://ait-xia-dialog.de/ait-magazine/ausgabe-9-2022/.


    Students from Karlsruhe win Solar Decathlon Europe

    September 12, 2022

    Verein Deutscher Ingenieure e.V., (unknown). “Karlsruher gewinnen Solar Decathlon Europe” HLH, July 2022.


    University Competition Solar Decathlon Europe: Team RoofKIT from KIT Karlsruhe wins with circular constructed top-up strategy

    July 4, 2022

    db online, (unknown). 2022. “Hochschulwettbewerb »Solar Decathlon Europe«: Team Aus Karlsruhe Gewinnt Mit Kreislauffähiger Aufstockung.” Deutsche Bauzeitung Online. July 1, 2022. URL: https://www.db-bauzeitung.de/news/team-aus-karlsruhe-gewinnt-mit-kreislauffaehiger-aufstockung/.


    Solar Decathlon goes to Karlsruhe

    July 4, 2022

    Schoof, Jakob. 2022. “Solar Decathlon Geht Nach Karlsruhe.” DETAIL Online. June 30, 2022. URL: https://www.detail.de/de/de_de/solar-decathlon-geht-nach-karlsruhe.


    Circularity? 100 per cent! Team RoofKIT from Karlsruhe wins the Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22

    June 27, 2022

    BauNetz. „Kreislauffähigkeit? 100 Prozent! Karlsruher Team gewinnt Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22“. BauNetz, 27. Juni 2022. URL: https://www.baunetz.de/meldungen/Meldungen-Karlsruher_Team_gewinnt_Solar_Decathlon_Europe_21-22_7966259.html.


    RoofKIT – How do we build in the future?

    June 13, 2022

    Lenz, Daniel, Regina Gebauer, Dirk E. Hebel, and Vanessa Falletta. 2022. “ROOFKIT: WIE BAUEN WIR IN ZUKUNFT?” Polis Online. June 10, 2022. https://polis-magazin.com/2022/06/roofkit-wie-bauen-wir-in-zukunft/.


    The Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 in the Mirker Quartier is open to visitors

    June 13, 2022

    Christoph, Johanna, and Marvin Rosenhoff. 2022. “Der Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22 im Mirker Quartier ist für Besucher geöffnet.” Westdeutsche Zeitung. June 10, 2022. https://www.wz.de/nrw/wuppertal/wuppertal-solar-decathlon-europe-21-22-ist-fuer-besucher-geoeffnet_aid-71171755.


    What about recycling?

    June 8, 2022

    Kries, Mateo, Jochen Eisenbrand, and Mea Hoffmann, eds. 2022. “Wie steht’s mit dem Recyceln?” In Plastik. Die Welt neu denken, 190–95. Weil am Rhein: Vitra Design Museum.


    Event: Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22

    May 3, 2022

    Team RoofKIT (2022), “Veranstaltung: Solar Decathlon Europe 21/22”, in: polis – Urban Development, January 2022, p. 85


    Wood-Veneer-Reinforced Mycelium Composites for Sustainable Building Components

    April 11, 2022

    Özdemir, Eda, Nazanin Saeidi, Alireza Javadian, Andrea Rossi, Nadja Nolte, Shibo Ren, Albert Dwan, Ivan Acosta, Dirk E. Hebel, Jan Wurm, and Philipp Eversmann (2022), “Wood-Veneer-Reinforced Mycelium Composites for Sustainable Building Components”, in: Biomimetics 7, no. 2: 39, March 2022, https://doi.org/10.3390/biomimetics7020039, URL: https://www.zukunftbau.de/projekte/forschungsfoerderung


    Interview: 3 questions to Dirk Hebel

    March 21, 2022

    Müller, Judith, and Dirk E. Hebel (2022), Drei Fragen an Dirk Hebel, in: KIT-Zentrum Mensch und Technik, March 2022, URL: https://www.mensch-und-technik.kit.edu/dreifragenanhebel.php


    Becoming recyclable. The city as a regenerative resource

    March 19, 2022

    Hebel, Dirk E. (2022), Kreislauffähig werden. Die Stadt als regenerative Ressourcein: Bauwelt, Re-Use, ed. 6.2022, 15 March 2022, p. 16-19, URL: https://bauwelt.de/rubriken/betrifft/Kreislauffaehig-werden.-Die-Stadt-als-regenerative-Ressource-3744598.html


    Plant-based data centers

    March 15, 2022

    Judge, Peter (2022), Plant-based data centers, in: Data Centre Dynamics Ltd (DCD), 17 March 2022, URL: https://www.datacenterdynamics.com/en/analysis/plant-based-buildings/


    Stone on stone, mycelium or wood?

    March 10, 2022

    Schneeweiß, Ulrike (2022), Stein auf Stein, Pilz oder Holz?, in: Helmholtz Klima-Initiative, 03 January 2022, URL: https://www.helmholtz-klima.de/aktuelles/stein-auf-stein-pilz-oder-holz