About circular façades

What are circular façades? Why are they important and do they deserve a platform? An in-depth explanation, going from the principles of circular economy to the details of circular façades, is given on the 'Background circular façades' page.

About the online platform

The Circular Façades platform emerged from the expressed need of façade actors to have an overview of what already exists on circular façades. They state that the information is too dispersed, and one gets lost in the bits of information on different locations. Nevertheless, this platform does not collect everything what already exists because 1) it is simply not possible and 2) not all available information serves the goal of inspiring and informing façade actors in an efficient way.

The platform is developed for all members of a construction team (read: architects, manufacturers, engineers, consultants, recycles, contractors, etc. Also building owners and users are welcome to get inspired). However, the content of the platform is limited to façades.

The content of the platform consists of 3 complementary parts: 

  • Cases that applied the circular economy principles to the design and/or construction of the façades

  • Tools that can guide or assist stakeholders in developing circular façades

  • Contribution page, where all questions, suggestions and comments are welcome through the feedback form and where one can fill in the survey on circular façades.

The development of the platform is part of a PhD research. This means that it will develop and change its content over at least the PhD period (which ends in December 2021). 

Feedback on the platform is welcome through the contribution or contact page. Could other kind of content be more useful for you? Do you know an interesting tool or project that has something to do with circular façades? Let us know and support us in optimizing the platform!

About the research

The feasibility of transformable façade systems: development of a feasibility assessment method (PhD title)

The problem is that the construction industry is still operating the ‘make, use and dispose’ model. This practice fosters an inefficient way of dealing with material and energy resources. And although some practical solutions for a sustainable construction industry already exist, is the transition towards it only slowly progressing. In other words, the implementation of the existing knowledge needs further guidance by uncovering their chances and struggles.

The goal of the research is to develop a method that

  • makes knowledge available and applicable and

  • can guide façade actors in evaluating the technical and architectural feasibility of (sustainable) façade systems

The research focuses on façades. The façade accounts for 20 to 25 percent of the total construction costs and represents a substantial part of the technical and commercial risks. Suitable methodologies and technologies applied in complex elements such as the façade can have a large positive impact. If it is possible to solve the problem issue for façades, the methodology should be applicable to other building elements, provided that some modifications are needed.

Download the journal paper on Design support tools for circular building (English)

Cambier, C., Galle, W. and De Temmerman, N. Research and Development Directions for Design Support Tools for Circular Building. Buildings, 2020, 10, 142.


Download the research paper on the relevance of adaptable façades (English)

Cambier C., et al. (2018) The relevance of adaptable façade systems: an evaluation through scenario planning (Presented at the Advanced Building Skins conference, Bern). Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels. 11 p.

Download the presentation on our review of the Design for Change principles (English)

Galle W., Cambier C. et al. (2018) Dynamic Design Matrix, A major review of the Flemish design principles for closed material loops (Presented at the WASCON conference, RIL, Tampere). Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels. 14 p.

About the researcher

Ir. arch. Charlotte Cambier is a PhD researcher at the Department of Architectural Engineering of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB). Her PhD research, under the supervision of prof. dr. ir. arch. Niels De Temmerman, has the aim to guide practitioners in analysing the feasibility of sustainable façades. As a first step in the research process, she asked stakeholders and pioneers, through surveys and interviews, how they see the implementation of circular façades today and in the (near) future. With this information the needs, the obstacles and the opportunities were mapped. One of the results from the analysis is the development of this Circular Façades Platform. 

© 2020 Charlotte Cambier. Created within the framework of a PhD research, funded by FWO Research Foundation Flanders.