Tendency to Circular Economy

Reuse of Architectural Elements

circular economy adaptive reuse architectural elements


Vol. 18 No. 2 (2021): Architecture, Waste, and the Circular Economy
Architecture, Waste, and the Circular Economy
December 28, 2021


Urbanization and building production that accelerate with globalization, cause excessive resource consumption and waste generation. The circular economy concept which is a contemporary economy approach, has been developed to solve this environmental and economic problem. The construction sector and architectural practice that provide building production need innovative solutions through the circular economy concept, as they consume different resources and produce waste crises.  The circular economy concept is applied with the "adaptive reuse" approach in the field of architecture. One of the important applications of the concept of adaptive reuse is the reuse of architectural elements and materials. However, the relationship between the concept of circular economy and the reuse of architectural elements can be developed by examining several recent projects and its advantages.  In this article, it is aimed to examine the relationship of this architectural reuse approach with the circular economy concept and to emphasize its importance. For this purpose, the theoretical perspectives and effects of circular economy were examined in the first part of the article, and the reflections of the circular economy concept on architecture were given in the second part. This section continues with description of the comparative analysis methodology that relates the building life cycle and circular economy principles to examine the architectural projects built as an example of circular economy paradigm.  In the third chapter, two architectural sample projects built in China and France were selected and introduced. Being pioneers in their countries in circular economy approaches and the different environmental policies of countries have been effective in the selection of examples from different geographies. The fourth part consists of analyzing the projects according to circular economy parameters using comparative analysis method. In the last section, analysis results show that although China is one of the pioneers in adopting circular economy principles with architectural design and building life cycle, it has been found that France considers circular economy design from a broader perspective.  Also, the design approach with circular economy criteria in different stage of building life cycle is gaining momentum over the years through national and local governments and collaborations. It is recommended that technological design systems such as BIM can be developed as integrated cloud systems that can share information from other sectors. Because the building life cycle is not only related to the architecture and construction sector. It is a cyclical system and economy that works with different sectors such as supply and waste management.