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RIBA Award for Sustainable Design

A Methodology for Reuse: Embracing a Circular Economy in a Carbon-Conscious Construction Sector

Part 2 Project 2020
Aisling Mulligan
University College Dublin | Ireland
This project aims to explore the restructuring of the construction sector towards a model which embraces a circular economy. This model focuses on the reuse of construction and demolition waste coupled with the integration of low embodied energy materials as a means of questioning the current use of carbon-intensive construction methods. This concept, used together with designing for the specifics of disassembly, adaptability, and flexibility, aims to not only increase the length of the building’s useful life, but allow it to embrace a circular economy.

The exploration of this idea begins with the formation of a sample inventory of materials made up of the reusable constituents of structures due for demolition. This then became the basis from which to design a building which would test these ideas of reuse. Supplementing reclaimed elements with low-embodied energy materials such as dowel-laminated-timber (DLT) the resulting structure aimed to be completely carbon-neutral in terms of its construction. Taking this further, the design then takes on the idea of systematic layering in order to embrace concepts of disassembly, flexibility and adaptation in order to extend the useful life of the structure and it’s individual components to whole-heartedly embrace a circular economy.

Aisling Mulligan

Pierre Long
Orla Murphy
Emmett Scanlon
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