Design Principles

Design Qualities for a Circular Economy

VUB Architectural Engineering

Goal of the tool

Design choices are key in the transition towards a circular construction economy. In this guide you find the insights and experiences of design practitioners, clients and researchers from Brussels and beyond on designing buildings that are prepared for change and circularity.

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Circular Design Guide

The Ellen McArthur Foundation and IDEO

Goal of the tool

To make designers and other stakeholders aware of the long-term consequences of their initial design choices and empower them with design principles that support the transition towards a circular and more sustainable built environment.

Description

The Circular Design Guide is a general guide to make circular innovations. The guide does not focus on the construction sector. It focuses on everyone for who circularity is a new concept and for innovators to create more elegant, effective, creative solutions for the circular economy. It offers free tools to create and release circular innovations. The offered tools are for example worksheets, videos, presentations, etc. Moreover, the website also includes 28 methods (from Understand to Advanced) which explain in detailed steps which activities you need to do to develop your circular innovation(s).

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Use this tool when you...

  • want to understand, define, make, and release circular innovations

  • want to explore the (business) potential of your idea

  • are looking for a problem to solve

Limitations of the tool

  • The different methods are made to guide people and organisations of all sectors. This causes that the methods and the descriptions are broad.

24 Design Principles for Design for Change

Flanders Public Waste Agency OVAM

Goal of the tool

To make designers and other stakeholders aware of the long-term consequences of their initial design choices and empower them with design principles that support the transition towards a circular and more sustainable built environment.

Description

The design principles are organised in a qualitative evaluation matrix. The matrix consists of three scale levels. The first level takes into account building elements such as walls, technical services and joinery. The second level considers buildings, regardless their type or size. The third level is the neighbourhood level.

Each principle is illustrated in a fact-sheet by exemplary techniques and applications. These sheets provide designers, developers and policymakers with a brief description of the aim and importance of each principle. Further, they allow stakeholders to get acquainted with existing design alternatives and the key questions that should be verified to assess other design options.

The design guidelines have already proved their worth in recent years. They appear to be a good basis for many projects to look for change-oriented solutions in dialogue between architect, client and contractor.

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Use this tool when you...

  • want to know which design principlescould lead to more circular building

  • want to question or evaluate, on the basis of design principles, if your design could be optimised in terms of circularity

  • are looking for examples on applying circular design principles

Limitations of the tool

  • The matrix is only available in Dutch

  • More design principles are necessary, e.g. the affordability and mobility of elements, and the purity, safety and renewability of materials.

  • The user-friendliness of the matrix could be increased. Guidelines on how to use the matrix are not yet available.

  • The impact of the principles on the social, economic and environmental aspects of buildings must be clarified.

  • It would be valuable to discuss and share more cases, as they will provide more insights in how the design principles can be translated into practical design choices.

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.

Closing the loop by design

Remeha B.V. Netherlands

Goal of the tool

To help construction stakeholders designing a circular economy, by offering a set of guidelines and various informative tools. The guidelines are meant to create awareness and new ways of thinking.

Description

Closing the Loop by Design is the result of a graduation research at R&D Competence Centre Apeldoorn providing guidelines supporting four design perspectives – architecture, component, connection and material – to help design products with multiple lives after use. The guidelines are illustrated with an example of a design of a boiler.

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Use this tool when you...

  • want clear and short guidelines on how to apply Design for Disassembly on architecture, component, connection and material.

  • want a step-by-step guide on which guidelines to use when, illustrated with an example of a boiler.

Limitations of the tool

  • The tool focuses on the design of a machine, not on the design of a building or façade.

  • Renewable materials are not mentioned.

  • The option to reuse the boiler itself or its components is not mentioned.

  • The more detailed and sequenced the design steps are, the less they are applicable in general. 

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