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The Circular digitalised dome: A reuse project built with reclaimed materials

by Madelein
The Circular digitalised dome: A reuse project built with reclaimed materials

The Digitalised Circular Dome is a human-scale reuse project demonstration, built with reclaimed materials and designed to ensure minimal additional waste is produced in the process. Throughout, digital tools are applied and tested to work with the individuality and lack of standardisation of the reclaimed materials.

The Circular Engineering for Architecture lab develops methods for problems in the construction and demolition waste. The construction industry generates over a third of all solid waste produced in Europe and methods for the reuse of building material waste are desperately needed.

Increasing the reliability and efficiency of the building system

All areas of the building lifecycle are affected– from design to procurement, construction, maintenance and the final disassembly.

Reconstruction techniques documented

Materials were recovered from an active demolition site in Geneva, Switzerland. Documentation on site was carried out using digital scanning and reconstruction techniques, creating a digital twin of the relevant areas for recovery. Building components were chosen based on their usefulness for new construction, accessibility and visual quality. The disassembly of the structure was then carried out in collaboration with industry deconstruction partner Materiuum.

After recovery, each component was measured and catalogued in a material database, The recovered inventory included timber beams, steel beams, oriented strand board flooring and polyvinyl chloride water pipes.

The dome demonstrates a concentrated investigation of the major steps in reuse-based construction, and the applicability of digital tools at each phase.

Construction phase

ASSEMBLY – All assembled connections were made using wood screws and friction fit for future disassembly.

A geodesic dome form was chosen for construction due to its inherent structural quality, openness to allow appreciation of the reclaimed material character and a design requiring minimal different types of parts. The design was optimised to work best with the available materials and the tools developed were based on making the materials fit the design and making the design fit the materials.

Material optimisation of the design

During material optimisation, element characteristics such as warping or cracking, emergent effects on efficiency and accuracy were considered. The design system involved cutting down to cross-sections to balance both the structural capabilities and overall weight.

Essential recording of geometric and material details

Each piece was marked with a laser engraved QR code representing its ID and a link to a database of the materials.

This database set a structure for recording the geometric and material details of each piece. The connective components between each wooden edge were produced from water pipes and recovered from the demolition site. The pipes were cut into a series of rings, providing a surface to screw into each connected timber piece.

To bring structural rigidity to the system and to unify the structure aesthetically, circular insets were produced from oriented strand board panels that made up the original floor system.

The final assembly was performed semi-modularly.

Full acknowledgement and thanks go to https://cea.ibi.ethz.ch for the information in this editorial.

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