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(21-22) On circular materials and processes – PART 2

Campus Sint-Lucas Brussels
Tutors: Laurens Bekemans, Catherine Mengé
Engagement: Craftsmanship

MARB/MAIB24 design studio ‘On circular materials and processes – PART 2’

This studio MARB / MAIB14 together with the subsequent studio MARB / MAIB24 is based on the objectives set within the ADO (Academic design office) project ‘Designing for an uncertain future/the act of building’ (see website: https://adocircular.org)



Climate mitigation requires a new attitude to materials and innovation in ecological and environmental engineering. Architects must research building materials and design the process of construction as much as its architectural outcome.

The earth is a closed system, and our stay here is only temporary. That’s why we need to behave responsibly and consciously deal with everything that makes our stay possible on this planet. However, we have created a system that focuses on continuous, exponential growth, which means that products have to be produced in a more and more increasing amount. That is why many people already argue to organize our economy in a fundamentally different way: where it is no longer about ‘take, make and waste’ but about a circular economy where we re-use products, where waste becomes a ‘new’ raw material, where locally (bio)sourced materials are mainstream and where design is thought for the long-term.

Circular economy is necessary and promising. Due to the energy, materials and climate transition, our environmental laws will soon become stricter. Long transport chains will push up the price of products. Residuals and waste will need to become the resources for tomorrow’s economy. This offers opportunities for shorter and closed production chains. These circular chains are most promising in places where many people live: in and around the city (1).

Within this context the pre-industrialized concept of a master-builder might just come back. It reflects the idea of an integral approach to architecture, embedded in local context, local materials and local craftsmanship. The professional architect should become more hybrid again. He should understand the flows and larger network that is touched by his design. He should research and understand design as the result of materials and processes.

1 Inspired by the text From A Good City Has Industry booklet for the exposition in Bozar in the winter of 2017

  • Read the complete studio description here (pdf)