Circular Strategies

Lukas Allner
Architecture, Building Construction
2020W, scientific seminar (SEW), 3.0 ECTS, 2.0 semester hours, course number S03525


The climate crisis and scarcity of resources are forcing us to reduce the ecological footprint of architecture, but this obligation also opens up new opportunities for cultural expression.

This Seminar addresses issues of sustainable building with a focus on concepts of circular economy / circular design.

The demand for reuse can also be understood as an advantage and potential for design experimentation.

The concept of circularity comprises two areas, one is concerned with (re)using what’s already there, the other with the planning of new structures designed to adapt to change. The focus in the Seminar this semester lies in the investigation of existing materials as a resource for inspiration and as architectural components.

To enhance the interpretative potential we will look into stock elements with distinct geometric features that define them as discrete objects more than generic materials. The specificity of such elements contain qualities that can be exploited for a creative process of repurposing and interpretation. Architectural formations composed of such reused components need to mediate the material constraints of its parts with a spatial concept. This tension has the potential to produce a productive ambiguity fostering multiple forms of use and potential spatial definition.

The goal in this course is the development of a design methodology, not a finished result. Analytical and interpretative techniques alternate in an experimental process with an aim to translate stock materials into aggregated architectural structures.

Digital tools are key to unlock the potential embedded in complex parts. 3D scanning allows us to capture geometries, the digitized information can be organized, composed and modified in a systematic and possibly automated way, using digital applications. Eventually, the data could be processed towards digital fabrication and realization. 

In this Seminar, we will train this translative process and conceptual agenda in a model-scale. Miniature elements are used as substitutes for full-scale parts to allow easy scanning and quick studies and to experiment with the principles of reuse.

Examination Modalities

participants are asked to work on individual studies independently.

Weekly meetings for feedback, input lectures, and tutorials.

Steps in the process:

  1. Mapping / studies of potential parts
  2. 3d Scanning of found elements
  3. Organization into a catalogue / inventory
  4. Aggregation studies: development of concepts based on part properties - inventory constraints as a potential for design experimentation
  5. Speculation of architectural inhabitation


It is highly recommended to visit the Circular Strategies Symposium on 02 October.

Profound knowledge in 3D-modeling Software (eg. Rhinoceros) is required.
Knowledge in (visual) programming (eg. Grasshopper) is recommended.
Participants are kindly asked to use their own computers and software.

Max. 15 participants 


02 October 2020, 09:30–18:30, "Circular Strategies Symposium - lectures from international guests and discussions. International experts in architecture and science will present various concepts followed by discussions involving the auditory. The one-day event gives an overview about the complex field."
06 October 2020, 10:45–12:15 FLUX 1
13 October 2020, 10:45–12:15 online
27 October 2020, 10:45–12:15 FLUX 1
03 November 2020, 10:45–12:15 FLUX 1
10 November 2020, 10:45–12:15 FLUX 1
17 November 2020, 10:45–12:15 FLUX 1
24 November 2020, 10:45–12:15 FLUX 1
01 December 2020, 10:45–12:15 FLUX 1
15 December 2020, 10:45–12:15 FLUX 1
12 January 2021, 10:45–12:15 online
19 January 2021, 10:45–12:15 online
26 January 2021, 10:45–12:15 online

Course Enrolment

From 01 September 2020, 09:00
The online registration was already closed

co-registration: possible

Architecture (Master): Building Construction

Individual courses: possible