Harvest! Collect! Re-use!
the new building site

Harvest! Collect! Re-use!
the new building site

Exhibition Harvest! Collect! Reuse! at Buitenplaats Brienenoord
Buildings have a significant impact on the environment, climate, and the quality of life. Until now, sustainable construction in the German context has been focused on use of natural, resource-saving or renewable building materials. In addition, through better insulation and energy-saving interventions there is an attempt to reduce the energy consumption during the operation phase.
The energy we use is increasingly derived from infinite energy sources, such as the sun and wind. The environmental costs during the operation phase are merely 15% of the total environmental costs of a building.
On average, about 85% of a building’s environmental costs is related to the use of materials. This shift came about in the 1990s, and a logical consequence was the increased impact of material use.
The CLB Berlin and Architekturgalerie München invited Superuse to contribute to an exhibition that will stimulate the discussion about reuse in Germany by presenting the Superuse approach of reusing building materials by showcasing circular building strategies, tools and projects.
The exhibition has been partly funded by the Creative Industries Fund NL, due to Covid restrictions the physical exhibitions still have to take place, the content that was developed is integrated in and made accessible through the website of Superuse.

The Superuse Steps

In comparison to conventional architectural design practice a few extra steps are added in the design process.

Most projects start with investigating the different relevant flows in a Material Flow Analysis. Important layers are: existing location, context, energy sources, water, food systems, existing built structures, natural structures, climate, materials, functionality, ergonomics, available budget, capacity of the project team.

After mapping those layers we search for possible interconnections. Ultimately this leads to a design that integrates all the relevant aspects.

_1

Inventory

_2

Sketch design

_3

Harvest

_4

Preliminary Design

_5

Building permit

_6

Collect

_7

Building preparation

_8

Construction

Dynamic final design

_9

Environmental impact

_10

After care

Strategy_1

Harvesting Materials

Superuse calls searching, finding and dismantling reusable building materials ‘harvesting’. For this purpose, Superuse founded the platform oogstkaart.nl in 2012. This marketplace for reusable building materials is used by Superuse as well as other architects, design professionals, builders and project developers. In 2019, the platform was sold to the urban mining company New Horizon.

When materials for a structure can be harvested, Superuse prefers to search as locally as possible. If a demolition or a renovation of an existing building takes place on the site of the design commision then logically this site is the first source to harvest materials. Afterwards, sources are sought in the vicinity of the project, whereby the scale can be increased if necessary.

There are various sources of residual materials, each with its own characteristics and dynamics:
_ End of life cycle (waste)
_ Construction and demolition (waste)
_ Dead stock (new)
_ Production waste (new)
_ Fast-life (short use)

When completing a design, Superuse often produces a graphic harvest map for the client with an overview of the residual materials used in the project and their original locations. In this exhibition, a project harvest map of each design is also shown.

For the project Buitenplaats Brienenoord materials were harvested both from the site itself as well from other locations. 90% of the materials used came from the former scouting building, among other components, the foundation, trusses, window frames and woodwork. The remaining materials were harvested from different locations, for example the ceiling tiles’ origin was 2.5km, while Trespa sheets came from another site 140km away.

To the project page
To the project page

Building Reuse

Strategy_2

Demolishing a building costs a lot of energy, so Superuse’s strategy is to reuse an entire building wherever possible. Here, we do not only mean renovating, but we often work on a complete change of function. Of course with the preservation of as many valuable parts of the old building as possible.

The supporting structure is always the starting point. Within the preconditions of load-bearing capacity and dimensions, we look for the optimal layout for the required programme. Where necessary, we make breakthroughs for the benefit of routing or add floors if the height allows. Often, a new entrance provides better access to all functions and creates a place that can give an identity to the new use.

We keep all installations for heating and electricity separate from other built-in parts according to the layer model of Stewart Brand, so that maintenance is easy and future changes are possible. By thinking in terms of layers with different lifespans, we literally create a layered building. The readability of the functions is enhanced, because by making the technology and the supporting structure visible, the flows (power lines, electricity, water) become more legible. If necessary, zoning of climate zones can contribute to strategic insulation instead of the entire building.

In Art Zaanstad it is easy to see how the column structure has determined the layout of the space and the size of the moveable exhibition walls. The colour scheme of the walls and structure has been maintained and expanded with a quiet palette of mainly black and white tones. The new entrance provides a clear public entrance.

To the project page
Foto van Art Zaanstad door Superuse, fotograaf Jos de Krieger

Building Reuse

Strategy_2

Demolishing a building costs a lot of energy, so Superuse’s strategy is to reuse an entire building wherever possible. Here, we do not only mean renovating, but we often work on a complete change of function. Of course with the preservation of as many valuable parts of the old building as possible.

The supporting structure is always the starting point. Within the preconditions of load-bearing capacity and dimensions, we look for the optimal layout for the required programme. Where necessary, we make breakthroughs for the benefit of routing or add floors if the height allows. Often, a new entrance provides better access to all functions and creates a place that can give an identity to the new use.

We keep all installations for heating and electricity separate from other built-in parts according to the layer model of Stewart Brand, so that maintenance is easy and future changes are possible. By thinking in terms of layers with different lifespans, we literally create a layered building. The readability of the functions is enhanced, because by making the technology and the supporting structure visible, the flows (power lines, electricity, water) become more legible. If necessary, zoning of climate zones can contribute to strategic insulation instead of the entire building.

In Art Zaanstad it is easy to see how the column structure has determined the layout of the space and the size of the moveable exhibition walls. The colour scheme of the walls and structure has been maintained and expanded with a quiet palette of mainly black and white tones. The new entrance provides a clear public entrance.

To the project page
Foto van Art Zaanstad door Superuse, fotograaf Jos de Krieger

Strategy_3

Circular Materials

Design for the cooperative housing project W1555Design for the cooperative housing project W1555.
Superuse uses a decision tree to make the hierarchy of material choices clear.

_0 Prevent
Preventing the use of a building component or material saves the most CO2 emissions and reduces the environmental impact.

_1 Reusable materials
With reuse, an existing building component is reused, whether or not for a different purpose, treated or untreated.

_2 Renewable / biobased materials
Materials that are derived from biomass. They can be physically, chemically or biologically treated. Ecological building materials are renewable without chemical or abiotic substances.

_3 Recycled materials
Materials that consist mainly of recycled raw materials.

_4 Conventional materials
When none of the above options are available, conventional building materials are chosen. These have no savings in terms of CO2emissions or environmental impact. However, a conventional material can be reused or recycled.

Superuse prefers to work with locally harvested reusable building materials. This is where the biggest environmental gains can be made. Reuse prevents the production of new building material, no pollution is released by recycling or burning waste. Moreover, transport movements and related emissions are minimal.

Sometimes other materials can have a lower impact. For example, when reusable materials have to come from far away, or when a lot of processing or maintenance is required. This also happens when the reusable materials are outdated and do not contribute to the energy performance of a building (e.g. single glazing).

To the project page
To the project page

Strategy_4

Circular Building Process

Circular building requires an integral approach from the ambition phase to realisation. Central to this is the design, in which Superuse as architect works together with partners and the client as a design team on a Dynamic Final Design. In addition to the usual drawings, this consists of a harvest map that shows the origin of the materials and a dynamic bill of materials that dissects the design into all architectural components.

With the dynamic bill of materials, the ambitions formulated by the client and architect and the preconditions from the schedule of requirements can be observed in all phases of the process. In addition to costs, the ecological footprint in CO2eq, for example, is a possible steering tool, or the percentage of bio-based material that will be used.

The project’s harvest map is fed by all sources known to us and to select materials we use the decision tree that helps to limit CO2emissions. The preference is to work with re-used materials, where available and applicable.

Ultimately, we hand over the design with the bill of materials to the contractor as a shopping list. The purchasing list and the design are based on this in order to achieve a circular realisation. If possible, this can also be done in a construction team, in which the client, architect and contractor work closely together.

After delivery, all applied materials are bundled in a material passport. This is a digital representation of dynamic elements, which ultimately can be traced back to raw material level. During its lifetime, the passport helps with decision-making on the building’s maintenance. In 50+ years, it can serve as a source for the supply side of reusable materials.

To the project page
Interior of one of the offices of Q-dance.

Circular Building Process

Strategy_4

Circular building requires an integral approach from the ambition phase to realisation. Central to this is the design, in which Superuse as architect works together with partners and the client as a design team on a Dynamic Final Design. In addition to the usual drawings, this consists of a harvest map that shows the origin of the materials and a dynamic bill of materials that dissects the design into all architectural components.

With the dynamic bill of materials, the ambitions formulated by the client and architect and the preconditions from the schedule of requirements can be observed in all phases of the process. In addition to costs, the ecological footprint in CO2eq, for example, is a possible steering tool, or the percentage of bio-based material that will be used.

The project’s harvest map is fed by all sources known to us and to select materials we use the decision tree that helps to limit CO2emissions. The preference is to work with re-used materials, where available and applicable.

Ultimately, we hand over the design with the bill of materials to the contractor as a shopping list. The purchasing list and the design are based on this in order to achieve a circular realisation. If possible, this can also be done in a construction team, in which the client, architect and contractor work closely together.

After delivery, all applied materials are bundled in a material passport. This is a digital representation of dynamic elements, which ultimately can be traced back to raw material level. During its lifetime, the passport helps with decision-making on the building’s maintenance. In 50+ years, it can serve as a source for the supply side of reusable materials.

To the project page
Interior of one of the offices of Q-dance.

Strategy_5

Demountable Construction

Façade of KEVN in Eindhoven. Photo by Frank Hanswijk
Demountable construction occupies an important place within the circular construction methodology. This is also referred to as detachability. Materials can then be reused not just once, but continuously. Therefore, it is important that buildings and building elements are designed and built in a way that allows them to be detached. Superuse therefore designs as much as possible ‘dry’. In other words, with dismountable connections that ensure that materials and building elements can be released without damage during maintenance or at the end of their lifespan.

Superuse applied this strategy in various ways in the design of the KEVN pavilion.

_ The pavilion is not built on a pile foundation. Instead, there are three layers of stelcon plates in the floor to create the necessary weight. In between are steel profiles, to which the trusses are bolted. The insulation layer lies between these, as does a layer of sand.
_ The main load-bearing structure with trusses and beams is fully bolted.
_ A non-load-bearing curtain wall system of glass and steel was chosen for the façade. The glass can be clamped with click strips. The use of rubbers and profiles means that no gluing or sealing is required.
_The roof package is laid ‘loosely’, except for the water-retaining layer. This is glued on, but can be removed for separate recycling.
_ All installations for heating and electricity were kept separate from other built-in parts.

As a result, the KEVN pavilion is designed as a kit that can be easily disassembled and reassembled elsewhere. The materials retain their value and it is better for the environment.

To the project page
Go to KEVN

Material Driven Design

Strategy_6

In material-driven design, the architect is inspired and guided by available reusable materials. We assume high-quality reuse. This means that the material can be used again in its original function or in a higher one without much processing.

In the concept or sketch design phase, the reusable material with all its characteristic properties (such as size, shape, colour, weather resistance, durability) serves as inspiration. Sometimes the actual material is already known, other times Superuse works with materials that experience has shown will become available.
In the latter case, the search for available reusable materials starts after a preliminary design. A final design with details and measurements follows after certainty about the purchase of rest lots. It must be possible to modify the design right up to the final phase. That is why Superuse speaks of a Dynamic Final Design. This is only possible with good cooperation between architect, contractor and client.
When the design is fixed and the search is on for specific suitable used materials, the chance of success is smaller.

The Blade Made projects by Superuse are a good example of material driven design. The characteristics of wind turbine blades are optimally utilised by the newly chosen applications. The shape of the blades lends itself for an ergonomic seating object as applied in REwind and Wikado. The shape of the blades also allows, after a few simple interventions, to create very diverse and imaginative play elements for children to climb on or in. The material of the blades is robust, weatherproof and vandal-proof, ideal for a playground or outdoor furniture.

To the project page
Blade turned into climbing structure.
Blade Made playground Wikado in Rotterdam. Photo by Denis Guzzo.

Material Driven Design

Strategy_6

In material-driven design, the architect is inspired and guided by available reusable materials. We assume high-quality reuse. This means that the material can be used again in its original function or in a higher one without much processing.

In the concept or sketch design phase, the reusable material with all its characteristic properties (such as size, shape, colour, weather resistance, durability) serves as inspiration. Sometimes the actual material is already known, other times Superuse works with materials that experience has shown will become available.
In the latter case, the search for available reusable materials starts after a preliminary design. A final design with details and measurements follows after certainty about the purchase of rest lots. It must be possible to modify the design right up to the final phase. That is why Superuse speaks of a Dynamic Final Design. This is only possible with good cooperation between architect, contractor and client.
When the design is fixed and the search is on for specific suitable used materials, the chance of success is smaller.

The Blade Made projects by Superuse are a good example of material driven design. The characteristics of wind turbine blades are optimally utilised by the newly chosen applications. The shape of the blades lends itself for an ergonomic seating object as applied in REwind and Wikado. The shape of the blades also allows, after a few simple interventions, to create very diverse and imaginative play elements for children to climb on or in. The material of the blades is robust, weatherproof and vandal-proof, ideal for a playground or outdoor furniture.

To the project page
Blade turned into climbing structure.
Blade Made playground Wikado in Rotterdam. Photo by Denis Guzzo.

Strategy_7

Permits and Warranties

At present, there are few suppliers who offer guarantees on reused materials. Therefore, other constructions have to be devised in order to retain the trust of clients. Depending on the scale of the project, a certain strategy can be adopted.

_ Shared responsibility;
In a building team of architect, contractor and client, the materials to be used can be agreed at the construction meeting. If together they have enough expertise to approve the materials, they share the responsibility. For some materials, common sense is enough to guarantee safe and sustainable application.

_ Buy off through external assessment;
In the event that common sense or joint expertise is insufficient to approve a material, it can be subjected to a test by a certifying body. This can be used, for example, to obtain a fire safety certificate or a declaration of equivalence, whereby the application is assessed by an external party.

_ Stockpiling;
For materials that are sensitive to wear and tear or the possibility of damage, it can be useful to keep a small stock of spare parts in the building. Examples of this are façade finishes or special glass sizes.

At Villa Welpeloo, all of the above strategies have been used. Recycled steel was used in the construction. The structural engineer’s calculations showed that the worst quality steel from the year the textile machine was built was strong enough to support the building. Extra slats were purchased for the façade, should maintenance be required due to damage.

To the project page
Go to Villa Welpeloo

Colophon

Texts by Superuse;
Jos de Krieger, Karola van Rooyen, Lizanne Dirkx, Frank Feder (ff-arch.eu)

Photography;
Allard van der Hoek, Denis Guzzo, Frank Hanswijk, various Superusers

Harvest maps;
Grafisch Lyceum Rotterdam, Bas Schellekens

Special thanks to;
Creative Industries Funds NL, Sally Below (sbca Berlin), Nicola Borgmann (Architekturgalerie München), Beate Engelhorn (Haus der Architektur, Graz)