Promoting sustainability in building design is an essential step in transitioning towards a circular economy. Part of that is ensuring that discarded materials from building construction and demolition are eventually given a new purpose after their time has come, rather than sending them to landfills.
Deriving from that line of thinking, Dutch design firm Rau Architects has managed to build a modular office building that once it reaches the end of its life, instead of being demolished, each piece of the structure will be reused somewhere else.
Built primarily from wood, the building was constructed using 165,312 screws – so if the company ever needs to relocate, or if the office closes, all of the components can be easily disassembled, unlike a steel building that would be welded together and girded with concrete.
The design aims for sustainability in several other ways. While steel and concrete have large carbon footprints, wood is carbon neutral, since trees store CO2 as they grow. Huge windows fill rooms with daylight, with the help of skylights and transparent walls inside, so employees can avoid using artificial lights.
Also, the building, which sits next to a forested preserve, was given a shape meant to avoid the flight paths of bats and minimize light pollution at night, and the landscaping includes a pond that wildlife can use for drinking water.
As the concept of circularity is slowly gaining momentum we will surely see such ingenious approaches of designing our buildings grow in popularity over the next couple of years.