CIRCULAR BXL

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 city1.

The intention of the design studio is to develop a vision on circular economy in Brussels. The assignment is based on the programmatic needs of existing circular companies (BC Materials, Permafunghi, Yuman and Bpost) and a specific location in Brussels (TIR building on Tours & Taxis).
This productive landscape has to become a liveable and inclusive neighbourhood, where innovative architecture and smart combinations of living, working, public functions, … limit the inconvenience of logistics and manufacturing economy.

1 From A Good City Has Industry booklet for the exposition in Bozar in the winter of 2017, written by AWB
2 Image from BC architects and studies

A Good city has industry

by Laurens Bekemans and Catherine Mengé

 “Cities are the incubators and the engines of the economy. We can see the different economic eras in their architecture and structure. Over the past decades, the renewal of the European city was accompanied by the rapid growth of services and knowledge economy. But in our effort to turn the city into an attractive living and working environment, we have also driven the industry out of the city. Productive areas disappear into the outskirts of the city or to low-wage countries. The city is turning into a place of consumption, without production. That is problematic.

 

A different city is being built now, in and around Brussels. The industrial activities and infrastructure that are still prominent, are a unique asset for the future. The city and its outskirts are being revived by making room for innovative manufacturing activities, low-skilled jobs and a circular economy. Building new homes for a growing population is linked to the preservation and enhancement of the urban economy and industry. Brussels and Flanders are pioneers of a turnaround in the European urban development and planning: from the post-industrial city to the productive city.”1

Brussels: a potential capital of circular economy

 

We are investing in an outdated economic model. To keep our current economy running, we are investing billions in highways and industrial parks far away from the city. We are swallowing up our limited space, spending more time in traffic, devouring energy and polluting the environment. The social costs have become unsustainable.

 

We are making ourselves dependent on low-wage countries. We have pushed production to low-wage countries. These countries then dump consumer goods on our market, at rock bottom prices. As a result, our local production is priced out of the market, and we depend significantly on global economic developments that are out of our control.

We are investing in a monoculture of employment. Not everyone can work in the knowledge economy, or in the creative or tertiary sector. The employment of low-skilled workers in catering, security, retail and cleaning firms has an upper limit. Yet it is precisely these jobs that are likely to be the first to disappear due to automation. A robust urban economy requires that the city offers space and support to a diversity of economic activities and jobs.

 

We need to close the gap between thinkers and creators. The gap between the knowledge and manufacturing economy is also reflected in the space. In and around Brussels, the highly educated live in the South-east, while the workers live in the North-west. As one of the richest regions of Europe, Brussels still has one of the lowest average incomes. Investing on an urban industry combines both brains and hands and helps to bridge the gap.

 

Local quality and craft are once again in demand. More and more people recognize the value and quality of locally produced crafts and food. As a counterpart to the automation of labour, we see a revaluation of handicrafts, metier and trade. From re-use to recycle.

 

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. 2

STARTINGPOINT

 

Research of the possibility to give space to circular industry in Brussels in the TIR (Transports Internationaux Routiers)

buildings Havenlaan 104-106. TIR is seen as one of the possible future hubs for the Brussels circular economic activities.

 

AIM

 

The aim of the design studio is to develop a productive architecture and program, starting from the needs of BC Materials, Permafunghi, Yuman and Bpost. This productive landscape is a liveable and inclusive neighbourhood, where innovative architecture and smart combinations of living, working, public functions, … limit the inconvenience of logistics and manufacturing economy.

 

SITE

The TIR building is located along the Brussels canal and is part of the larger canal area development.

 

PROGRAMM


The students will elaborate programmatic proposals using the implementation of



  • BC Materials (theme building materials)


BC materials is a cooperative converting earth from building sites in the city into circular clay construction materials in a process of urban mining. Building requires the extraction of soil as a first step. This is difficult to stock and polluting to transport. Brussels and Flanders excavate 22.5 million tons a year. Approximately 75% of this is unpolluted, and this soil is 40% non-circular used in road construction or 60% dumped as waste in quarries. BC materials connects the chain from soil to circular building material. They convert local extracted earth into building materials such as clay plasters, loam stones and rammed earth. These are CO2-neutral, ensure a healthy indoor climate and contain minimal grey energy. After use it can be given back to the soil or re-converted into building material in an infinitely circular process.


BC Materials is a project of BC architects & studies, started in partnership with KULeuven – ULB – ENSA Grenoble (Fr) – Esher – Becircular – Vlaanderen Circulair



  • Permafunghi (theme food)


PermaFungi is a cooperative association with social finality, based on a very important innovation: the production of mushrooms on coffee grit, an ideal substrate for mushroom cultivation. This technique makes it possible to completely dispose    of waste                                                                 material.


 



  • Yuman (theme commerce)


Assign jobs, optimize travel routes and communicate with the field in real-time to increase your productivity and quality of service.


 



  • Bpost (theme logistics, last-mile and reverse logistics)


bpost is Belgium’s leading postal operator and universal service provider.


ORGANIZATION



  1. analyses of the context (group)

  2. critical understanding of the program (group)

  3. vision and strategy set out in a masterplan for the larger context (group)

  4. architecture project (individual)


CALENDER


Week 1                   Wednesday Sept 26


Morning Session


09.00 h  general introduction of the themes and choosing a studio Afternoon Session

13.00 h   introduction to the design studio organisation


13.30 h   Impulse (Anthony Naralingom): introduction to circular economy in general in Brussels (present, short-term, long-term)


14.15 h   Perspective Brussels: introduction to TIR and Tours &Taxis


15.30 h   visit of the TIR building and Tours and Taxis


 


Week 2                   Wednesday Oct 3                  9-13 h                     lectures on the 4 main themes



  • Anthony Naralingom (Impulse): introducing the themes on general level and maybe explaining the logistic theme more in depth?

  • Nicolas Coeckelberghs (BC Materials): What is BC Materials and what does it need

  • Permafunghi: What is Permafunghi and what would be there ideal growing scenario, what would it need, …

  • Yuman: What is Yuman and what would be there ideal growing scenario, what would it need, …























































Week 3


 


Week 4

Wednesday Oct 10


 


Wednesday Oct 17

Vision and program


 


Vision and program

Week 5 Wednesday Oct 24 Midterm review: VISION AND PROGRAM *
Week 6 Wednesday Oct 31 start individual architectural design
Week 7 Wednesday Nov 7 Workshop – Book Debate **
 


Week 8

 


Wednesday Nov 14

 


individual architectural design

Week 9 Wednesday Nov 21 individual architectural design
Week 10 Wednesday Nov 28 Silent review: the individual architectural project *
Week 11 Wednesday Dec 5 individual architectural design
Week 12 Wednesday Dec 12 individual architectural design
Week 13 Wednesday Dec 19 FINAL REVIEW + Book test * / **












CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY


Week 14                 Wednesday (TBC) Jan 11                    FINAL BOOK REVIEW **


 


* OUTPUT PRESENTATIONS AND REVIEWS:


All expected output for the presentations and reviews will be communicated by email during the course of the design studio.


 


** BOOK


All design studio students will collaborate together in the making of a high-quality book publication of the results of the design studio.


 


DIFFERENT FASES/WORKING METHOD


FASE 1: whole studio group, 1 week


Students will make 1 big model of the whole TIR building, building D and will analyse the existing building


-> result: 1 big model and all necessary plans of the site and surroundings


 


FASE 2: groups of 3-4 students,


The groups will develop each a program and vision around the above mentioned main-actors. Experimentation is the goal, adding public functions or other actors is possible.


-> result: masterplans and visions for the TIR


 


FASE 3: individual


Each team-member will choose within their team one part of the masterplan to elaborate into an architectural project, following the vision and guidelines of the group.


-> result: complete TIR projects consisting each of 3-4 sub-projects of the individual students


 


END RESULT: exposition and final publication of all the ideas and projects in order to be an inspiration for all kinds of initiatives involved in circular industries


REFERENCES


 


– The Act of Building, BC architects & studies, Exhibitions International, isbn 978-94-92-567-09-3


– Material Matters, Thomas Rau and Sabine Oberhuber, isbn 978-946-156-22-58



 


METHOD OF EVALUATION


Permanent evaluation and reviews


 


COMPETENCES


See: https://onderwijsaanbod.kuleuven.be/syllabi/e/A34218E.htm#activetab=doelstellingen_idm2124928


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