The circular economy consists in maintaining the value of products as long as possible by extending or renewing their service life while minimizing resource depletion, waste and greenhouse gas emissions. The integration of these principles in the construction industry has many facets that often contradict each other. Constantly updates constructive criticism is therefore necessary for the successful development of the circular economy, and sustainability.
While introducing students to the concept of the circular economy and its applications to building design, the class provides ready-to-use techniques and aims at developing a critical mindset towards their use. Following a ‘flipped classroom’ methodology, the class delves into recent literature and practice by means of adversarial open debates. Each week a theme is highlighted, explored and discussed: from assessment methods for environmental footprint of buildings to history, principles and expectations of the circular economy, intensity and versatility in building use, low-impact materials and material-efficient systems, in-situ recycling and retrofit, materials procurement and management, as well as design for upstream, downstream, restorative or regenerative reuse.