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Urban Mining & Recycling (UMAR) on Instagram @neweuropeanbauhaus

The Urban Mining and Recycling unit (UMAR) in NEST was listed as a showcase project of circular construction by the New European Bauhaus on 6th April 2021. The project shows how a responsible approach to dealing with our natural resources can also go hand in hand with an appealing architectural form. Life-cycle thinking has led the design process: all the resources required to construct the unit are fully reusable, recyclable, or compostable.

Instagram Post about UMAR © neweuropeanbauhaus

The Urban Mining and Recycling housing and research unit in NEST, the modular Research and Innovation Building of Empa in Dübendorf (Switzerland), is demonstrating what a paradigm shift in the construction industry reacting to the limitation of the world’s natural resources might look like. Turning away from linear material-consumption and towards an economy of material recycling, multiple use, alternative construction methods and the use of entirely separable materials – UMAR works as a material laboratory but also as a material depot. It is a proof that the responsible use of natural resources, the recycling of materials and modern architecture can go hand in hand.

The building design was created by Werner Sobek in collaboration with Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel, Bernd Köhler and Frank Heinlein.

Visit the Urban Mining and Recycling (UMAR) website here.

Learn more about the New European Bauhaus on their website or on Instagram.

 
 

UMAR and Mycelium Research in “Die Sendung mit der Maus”

In the current 50th anniversary episode of “Die Sendung mit der Maus”, Armin Maiwald, one of the hosts, is looking for how people will live in the future. Therefore he visits the Urban Mining and Recycling Unit (UMAR) created by Werner Sobek with Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel.

The UMAR Unit © WDR Die Maus

The building design 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. In that way UMAR functions simultaneously as a material laboratory and a temporary material storage.

Dr. Alireza Javadian shows the material’s strength © WDR Die Maus

After having visited UMAR, Armin Maiwald also takes a look at the mycelium laboratory in the Westhochschule in Karlsruhe. Here our researcher Dr. Alireza Javadian shows the TV host of the children’s program how the mycelium grows in the laboratory, how it is shaped and how resistant it is afterwards.

Watch the full episode of “Die Maus” on WDR here.

Mycelium Wall in the UMAR Unit © WDR Die Maus

 
 

KIT Professorship of Sustainable Construction wins two innovation awards at “beyond bauhaus – prototyping the future” organized by “Deutschland – Land der Ideen” – an initiative of the Federal Government and German industry

The international competition “beyond bauhaus – prototyping the future”, sought ground-breaking design ideas and concepts that address a socially relevant topic and provide creative answers to the pressing questions of our time. Almost 1500 projects coming from 50 countries applied for an award. The 20 award winners convinced the international jury with their ideas and concepts. The spectrum of entries reflects the challenges of our time: it ranges from food cultivation on the water to individually dosed medicine and new technologies for urban development to sustainable building materials. The Professorship of Sustainable Construction Dirk E. Hebel together with Philippe Block and Juney Lee from ETH Zürich (Mycotree) and Werner Sobek and Bernd Köhler from the Werner Sobek Group Stuttgart (UMAR) won two of the awards.

Renewable building material for the city of tomorrow

Steel and concrete—these are the first materials that come to mind when one thinks about building. But our resources are finite, which is why construction must break new ground. Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH) with its research outpost FCL in Singapore are leading the way by researching alternatives to conventional building materials. A result of years of research is “MycoTree”, a self-supporting structure made of fungal mycelium and bamboo. Design Team: KIT: Dirk E. Hebel, Felix Heisel, Karsten Schlesier, ETHZ: Philippe Block, Juney Lee, Matthias Rippmann, Tomas Mendez Echenagucia, Andrew Liew, Noelle Paulson, Tom van Mele, SEC/FCL: Nazanin Saeidi, Alireza Javadian, Adi Reza Nugroho, Robbi Zidna Ilman, Erlambang Adjidarma, Ronaldiaz Hartantyo, Hokie Christian, Orion Tan, Sheng Yu, Kelly Cooper

Closed material cycles in civil engineering

The world’s natural resources are limited, which is why we need to rethink how we use and reuse everything — away from linear material-consumption and towards an economy of recycling. The Urban Mining and Recycling (UMAR) housing and research unit of the Swiss research institute Empa at “NEST” is demonstrating what this paradigm shift in the construction industry might look like. Architects Werner Sobek, Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel have come up with a building concept that uses entirely separable resources, either reusable or compostable: mortar-free, folding walls made of recycled demolition debris, bathroom cladding made of recycled plastic chopping-boards, or mushroom mycelium as compostable wall-insulation. UMAR is thus not only a material laboratory but also a material depot. It is also proof that responsible use of natural resources and modern architecture can go hand in hand. Design Team: Werner Sobek mit Dirk E. Hebel und Felix Heisel, Bernd Köhler, Frank Heinlein

More information here.

 
 

The making of UMAR

One working day, two cranes and a well attuned team: on 21 November 2017, the woodworkers from the Austrian company Kaufmann Zimmerei und Tischlerei placed the seven prefabricated modules of the Urban Mining and Recycling unit with utmost precision between the projecting platforms of NEST, the research and innovation building of Empa and Eawag in Dübendorf. The interior finishing was implemented in the following few days; and the apartment thus ready to accommodate its first two tenants. Read more here.

 
 

UMAR – Urban Mining und Recycling Unit, Dübendorf, Schweiz

Experimental, educational and even radical is the housing unit UMAR by Werner Sobek, Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel, who not only want to test new materials as real as possible, but also want to permanently change our understanding of buildings and cities. UMAR invites you to discover a building as a material storage and cities as urban mines. Article at architektur.aktuell Austria by Claus Käpplinger.

Read full article here.

 
 

DETAIL: Living Unit as an architectural model for the circular economy / Wohnmodul aus Recycling-Material

»Die Stadt der Zukunft unterscheidet nicht zwischen Abfall und Vorrat«, umschreiben die Wissenschaftler den zugrundeliegenden Forschungsansatz der Experimentaleinheit mit einem Zitat von Mitchell Joachim, Vorreiter eines ökologischen Planungsansatzes. Die Urban Mining & Recycling (UMAR)-Unit ergänzt seit Februar 2018 als experimentelles Wohnmodul das modulare Forschungs- und Innovationsgebäude NEST auf dem Campus der Eidgenössischen Materialprüfungs- und Forschungsanstalt (Empa) in schweizerischen Dübendorf. Der Entwurf stammt von Werner Sobek mit Dirk E. Hebel und Felix Heisel. Sobek ist Leiter des Instituts für Leichtbau Entwerfen und Konstruieren der Universität Stuttgart, Hebel und Heisel sind Leiter und Forschungsverantwortlicher des Fachgebiets Nachhaltiges Bauen am KIT Karlsruhe und am Singapore ETH-Centre.

Read the full article here.

 
 

UMAR unit now has its own website: www.nest-umar.net

The Urban Mining and Recycling unit now has its own website. At www.nest-umar.net you can find all information about Empa NEST, the unit UMAR, as well as the making of the unit. Additionally, the website offers a material library of the materials used including data sheets and company contacts.

 
 

Construction starts at NEST Unit Urban Mining & Recycling

One working day, two cranes and a well attuned team: on 21 November 2017, the woodworkers from the Austrian company Kaufmann Zimmerei und Tischlerei placed the seven prefabricated modules of the new “Urban Mining & Recycling” unit with utmost precision between the projecting platforms of NEST, the research and innovation building of Empa and Eawag in Dübendorf. The interior finishing will be implemented in the next weeks. The apartment will be ready in the spring of 2018 and will accommodate two tenants.

The NEST unit “Urban Mining & Recycling” is simultaneously an apartment, a material storage, and a material lab. The unit is based on the idea that all resources required to construct a building must be fully reusable, recyclable or compostable. Werner Sobek, director of the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design of the University of Stuttgart and owner of the Werner Sobek Group, together with Dirk E. Hebel and Felix Heisel of the Chair of Sustainable Construction at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), are responsible for the design. The general contractor of the project is Kaufmann Zimmerei und Tischlerei. The seven modules that form the new unit were prefabricated in their factory in the Reuthe, Austria.

The structure as well as large parts of the facade are made of untreated wood. The innovation lies in the connections and the material-oriented use: all connections of the system subjected to tension and compression can be easily undone. Adhesive connections had been omitted in favor of plug and screw connections. The wood being used is applied in such a way that an otherwise standard coating is not necessary, thus making purely type-sorted recycling or purely biological composting possible.

Recycling stones and borrowed floor slabs

The facade consists of aluminum and copper. Both metals can be melted and recycled according to type. Inside, various serially-processed building products had been used, the different materials of which can be recycled in a type-sorted manner and without residue. Among other things, grown wall panels consisting of mushroom-based mycelium, innovative recycling stones, recycled insulation materials, as well as borrowed floor coverings are also being used in the unit. Through the use of such new “material leasing concepts“, the construction of this unit also calls into question the existing economic concepts prevalent in the construction industry. During a second construction phase, the unit will then also address research questions regarding the sustainable use of energy through a retrofittable solar heating system.

The “Urban Mining & Recycling” unit will be connected to the NEST backbone and the interior will be completed in the coming weeks. The official opening of the unit will take place in early February 2018. Shortly thereafter, the first two tenants will move into the new residential unit and subject the materials to a practical test.

 
 

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:  
 

    Urban Mining and Circular Construction

    June 1, 2021

    Hebel, Dirk E. and Felix Heisel (ed.) (2021), Urban Mining und kreislaufgerechtes Bauen. Die Stadt als Rohstofflager, Stuttgart: Fraunhofer IRB Verlag, 2021.

     
     

    Bricolage: Renewable building materials

    June 1, 2021

    Hebel, Dirk E., and Jenny Keller (2021), Bricolage 3: Nachwachsende Rohstoffe, in: werk, bauen + wohnen, Materialkreislauf, 5-2021, p. 30-31.

     
     

    Green architecture or green fairy tales?

    May 12, 2021

    Welzbacher, Christian (2021), Grüne Architektur oder grüne Märchen?, in: Deutsches Architektenblatt, NACHHALTIG, 05/2021, p. 16-21.

     
     

    Building as materials cycle

    May 6, 2021

    Hebel, Dirk E., and Angela Kratz (2021), Bauen als Stoffkreislauf, in: IBA Magazin No. 4, Heidelberg für alle, April 2021, p. 24-25.

     
     

    Recycling through leasing

    May 6, 2021

    Angélil, Marc, Sarah Graham, and Cary Siress (2021), Recycling through leasing, in: Constructing Sustainability, Lafarge Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction, 2021, p. 36-37.

     
     

    Kindergarten Kambodscha

    March 30, 2021

    Fachgebiet Nachhaltiges Bauen KIT, Prof. Dirk E. Hebel (Hrsg.) (2021), Kindergarten Kambodscha. Professur Dirk E. Hebel. Master Studio KIT Karlsruhe Sommer 2019, Karlsruhe 2021.

     
     

    Concern of the building stock – Ten strategies for architecture

    March 16, 2021

    Welter, T., (2020), Sorge um den Bestand: Zehn Strategien für die Architektur, in: der architekt, 6/2020, p. 76.

     
     

    local material, local design, local built.

    March 8, 2021

    Böhm, Sandra (2020), Local material, local design, local built., in: archlab.docs #3, KIT Research Preprint, Karlsruhe 2020.

     
     

    build up & dismantling/ cultivation/ development

    March 5, 2021

    Böhm, Sandra (2018/19), Bau auf! & Abbau/Anbau/Aufbau, in: archlab.docs #2, KIT Research Preprint, Karlsruhe 2018/19.

     
     

    We will soon be building houses out of mycelium?

    February 22, 2021

    Hebel, Dirk E., BILD der FRAU (2021), Nachgefragt bei WELTbewegern: Bauen wir bald Häuser aus Pilzen?, in: BILD der FRAU.

     
     

    OFFSPRING: The KIT material library

    February 17, 2021

    Hebel, Dirk E., and Böhm, Sandra (2020), NACHWUCHS: Die KIT-Materialbibliothek, in: ASF Journal 2020, p. 46.

     
     

    From breeding, cultivation, seeding and harvesting of biological building materials

    January 18, 2021

    Presentation of some projects of the symposium grow.build.repeat.

    Schimmelpfennig, Nadine (2021), Vom Züchten, Kultivieren, Säen und Ernten biologischer Baumaterialien, in: Deutsche Bauzeitschrift, Zukunftsfähig Bauen, January 2021, p. 40-43.

     
     

    100% Ressource: Bauten als Rohstofflager

    December 10, 2020

    Dirk E. Hebel (2020), 100% Ressource: Bauten als Rohstofflager, in: Sorge um den Bestand, Zehn Strategien für die Architektur, von Olaf Bahner, Matthias Böttger und Laura Holzberg für den Bund Deutscher Architekten BDA, Dezember 2020, p. 165-177.

     
     

    Materials science during studies

    November 10, 2020

    Dirk E. Hebel, Sandra Böhm (2020), Materialkunde im Studium, in: Der Entwurf – Magazin der DBZ für junge Architekt*innen und Ingenieur*innen, November 2020, p. 14-17.

     
     

    Recycling

    October 16, 2020

    Dirk E. Hebel (Referent), Markus Freitag (Podiumsgast), Barbara Bleisch (Moderation) (2020), Recycling, in: Auf Zeit – Architektur Forum Ostschweiz, Edition 2019, p. 153-174.

     
     

    The built environment becomes an urban mine

    October 16, 2020

    Hebel, Dirk E. (2020). Die gebaute Umwelt wird zur Urbanen Mine, in: Die Quadratur der Kreislaufwirtschaft – Weshalb eine Ökonomie der Kreisläufe auf gesellschaftliche Kooperation bauen muss, W.I.R.E., David Hesse, Simone Achermann. p. 16-27. Zurich, Switzerland

     
     

    From the circulating, sowing and harvesting of future building materials

    August 26, 2020

    Hebel, Dirk E. (2020). Vom Zirkulieren, Säen und Ernten zukünftiger Baumaterialien, in: Bauen im Wandel. Zukunft Bau Kongress 2019, BBSR. p. 74-79. Bonn, Germany

     
     

    Tremendous possibilities

    August 26, 2020

    Hebel, Dirk E. (2020). Ungeheure Möglichkeiten, in: der architekt. material der stadt. 4/2020 (Bund Deutscher Architekten BDA), Berlin, Germany

     
     

    Constructed from mycelium

    July 21, 2020

    Klaaßen, Lars (2020). Aus Pilz gebaut, in: Süddeutsche Zeitung. 18.07.2020, München, Germany

     
     

    The opportunities of the urban mine

    July 7, 2020

    Hebel, Dirk E. (2020). Die Chancen der urbanen Mine. Wie ein kreislaufgerechtes Bauen die Ressourcenfrage der Zukunft decken kann, in: PLANERIN. Mitgliederfachzeitschrift für Stadt-, Regional- und Landesplanung, p. 21-24. 3_20, Berlin, Germany

     
     

    Stark wie Stahl

    July 2, 2020

    Beck, Gabriela (2020). Stark wie Stahl, in: Süddeutsche Zeitung s.41, Nr.90, Bauen und Wohnen, 18./19.04.2020. München , Germany

     
     

    Changing Paradigms!

    March 19, 2020

    Hebel, Dirk E., Werner Sobek (2020). Changing Paradigms: Materials for a World Not Yet Built, in: The Materials Book, 139-141. Berlin, Germany: Ruby Press

    Hebel, Dirk E., Felix Heisel (2020). Culitvated Building Materials: The Fourth Industrial Revolution?, in: The Materials Book, 145-149. Berlin, Germany: Ruby Press

    Heisel, Felix (2020). Reuse and Recycling: Materializing a Circular Construction, in: The Materials Book, 156-160. Berlin, Germany: Ruby Press

     
     

    Pavilion made of recycled materials

    March 19, 2020

    KIT Karlsruhe (2020). Pavillon aus Recycling-Materilaien, in: Neuland, Innovation am KIT 2019, 2020. 40

     
     

    House building for the heirs

    March 19, 2020

    Hebel, Dirk E. (2020). Hausbau für die Erben, in: Südzeit, March 2020: no. 84, 8-9

     
     

    Showering as a school subject

    March 19, 2020

    Wüthrich, Christa (2020). Duschen als Schulfach, in: Bildung Schweiz, March 2020: no. 2, 29-32

     
     

    We’re running out of sand!

    March 19, 2020

    Prof. Dirk E. Hebel talks about the shortage of sand.

    Sakowitz, Sven (2020). Uns geht der Sand aus, in: HÖRZU Wissen, 19 th March 2020, No.2, 64-69.

     
     

    Build Sustainably and Act Future-Oriented

    February 25, 2020

    Interview with Prof. Dirk E. Hebel (2020). Build Sustainably and Act Future-Oriented. (Interview about his research as the head of the Department of Sustainable Building at KIT, specific challenges facing the construction industry concerning the reuse of materials and their sustainability and about the KIT being part of the SBM Summit taking place at Karlsruhe Trade Fair Centre on 18 and 19 June 2020.), in: stories, 01/2020: 22-24

     
     

    Die Stadt wird zum riesigen Rohstofflager

    February 19, 2020

    Ulrich Coenen (2020). Die Stadt wird zum riesigen Rohstofflager. (Second part of an interview with Prof. Dirk E. Hebel about the practice of urban mining, the energetic redevelopment of existing buildings and the establishment of new building materials and future energy efficient technologies.), in: Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 18th February 2020: no. 40, 17

     
     

    Diskrepanz zwischen Anspruch und Realität ist groß

    February 12, 2020

    Ulrich Coenen (2020). Diskrepanz zwischen Anspruch und Realität ist groß. (First part of an interview with Prof. Dirk E. Hebel about Sustainable Thinking, Acting and Building, technical and biological circulations, unmixed and pure construction methods and the application of urban mining.), in: Badische Neueste Nachrichten, 11th February 2020: no. 34, 17

     
     

    Kreislaufgerechtes Bauen – Kultivierte Baumaterialien: UMAR & MycoTree

    February 5, 2020

    Dirk E. Hebel, Felix Heisel (2020). Kreislaufgerechtes Bauen – Kultivierte Baumaterialien, in: H2O – Das Kundenmagazin von Keramik Laufen und Similor, January 2020: 22-23