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Urban Mining & Recycling (UMAR) Unit in Dübendorf

The Urban Mining & Recycling (UMAR) Experimental Unit is the newest unit of the NEST research building on the campus of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology (Empa) in Dübendorf, Switzerland. The building design created by Werner Sobek with Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel demonstrates how a responsible approach to dealing with our natural resources can go hand in hand with appealing architectural form. The project is underpinned by the proposition that all the resources required to construct a building must be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable. This places life-cycle thinking at the forefront of the design: Instead of merely using and subsequently disposing of resources, they are borrowed from their technical and biological cycles for a certain amount of time before being put back into circulation once again. Such an approach makes reusing and repurposing materials just as important as recycling and upcycling them (both at a systemic and a molecular/biological level, e.g. via melting or composting). This conceptual emphasis means that UMAR functions simultaneously as a materials laboratory and a temporary material storage.

The following approaches lie at the heart of the design:

  • Temporary removal and borrowing instead of permanent acquisition and disposal
  • Maximal modularisation and prefabrication
  • The potential for all materials and products to be extracted cleanly, separated out and sorted

The building, which is created on the basis of a modular construction concept, is fully prefabricated and tested in the factory. The supporting structure and large parts of the façade consist of untreated wood, a material that can be reused or composted after the building is dismantled. The façade also includes aluminium and copper, two types of metal that can be separated out cleanly, melted down and recycled. The interior of the unit contains an extremely diverse range of serially manufactured building products whose various constituent materials can be separated out and sorted before being introduced back into their respective materials cycles without leaving behind any residue or waste. Among the technologies used here are cultivated mycelium boards, innovative recycled bricks, repurposed insulation materials, leased floor coverings and a multifunctional solar thermal installation.

Visitors can learn about all of the materials and products used in the project at the entrance to the unit and in the dedicated materials library.

The UMAR unit is not just a material storage, but also a public repository of information that is intended to serve as a model example and a source of inspiration for other building projects. UMAR wants to make a contribution to the paradigm shift that is required in the construction industry. The module functions both as a laboratory and a test run for sustainable building projects and the processes associated with them. In collaboration with partners from the worlds of planning, administration and production, the unit’s goal is to examine resource consumption and the key issues in the construction industry and use its insights to develop a range of innovative tools and approaches.

Opening: February 2018

Project Team:

Concept, Design and Project Planning:
Werner Sobek with Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, Germany (Project Management, Werner Sobek Office: Bernd Köhler, Frank Heinlein)
Structural Planning and General Contractor:
kaufmann zimmerei und tischlerei gmbh, Reuthe, Austria (Matthias Kaufmann)
HLSKE (Heating, Ventilation, Sanitation, Air-Conditioning & Electrical Systems) and MSR (Measuring & Control Technology):

Amstein-Walthert AG, Zürich, Switzerland (Project Management: Simon Büttgenbach)
Sprinklers:
NBG Ingenieure AG, Bern, Switzerland (Bernhard Zmoos)
JOMOS Feuerschutz AG, Balsthal, Switzerland (Rudolf Jenni)
Fire Safety:
Balzer Ingenieure AG, Chur, Switzerland (Dumeng Wehrli, Christoph Schärer)
Building Physics:
Weber Energie und Bauphysik, Schaffhausen, Switzerland (Moritz Eggen)
Client:
Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland (Enrico F. Marchesi, Reto Fischer)

       
 
 
 
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:  
 

    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

     
     

    The Real Estate Industry needs a Master Plan for Circular Construction

    February 28, 2022

    Werth, Hans-Jörg (2022), „Die Immobilienwirtschaft benötigt einen Masterplan für zirkuläres Bauen“, in: Handelsblatt inside REAL ESTATE, 22 February 2022

     
     

    Innovative biological building materials

    February 16, 2022

    Hebel, Dirk E. (2022), “Innovative biologische Baumaterialien. Pilze als neuer Baustoff zum Schließen der Ressourcenlücke”, in: BauPortal, Fachmagazin der Berufsgenossenschaft der Bauwirtschaft, February 2022, p. 14-16

     
     

    Pure towards the Future

    January 31, 2022

    Hebel, Dirk E. (2021), Sortenrein Richtung Zukunft, in: Materialreport 2022, Raumprobe OHG (ed.), December 2021, p. 6-11

     
     

    Material/Research

    January 31, 2022

    Hempel, André, Eva Hermann, Verena Kluth and Helga Kühnhenrich (ed. BBSR) (2022), “Material/Forschung”, in: ZUKUNFT BAU Forschungsförderung, 2022, p. 10-13