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Ferreira Silva, Marielle UL

Doctoral thesis (2022)

How we design, construct and live in our houses as well as go to work can mitigate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and global climate change. Furthermore, the complex world we live in is in an ongoing ... [more ▼]

How we design, construct and live in our houses as well as go to work can mitigate carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and global climate change. Furthermore, the complex world we live in is in an ongoing transformation process. The housing shortage problem is increasing as the world population and cities are increasingly growing. Thereby, we must think of all the other issues that come along with population growth, such as increased demand for built space, mobility, expansion of cities into green areas, use of resources, and materials scarcity. Various projects from history have used alternatives to solve the problem of social housing, such as increasing density in cities through housing complexes, fast and low-cost constructions with prefabricated methods and materials, and modularisation systems. However, the current architecture is not designed to meet users’ future needs and reduce the environmental impact. A proposal to change this situation would be to go back to the beginning of architecture’s conception and to design it differently. In addition, nowadays, there is an increasing focus on moving towards sustainable and circular living spaces based on shared, adaptable and modular built environments to improve residents’ quality of life. For this reason, the main objective of this thesis is to study the potential of architecture that can reconfigure spatially and temporally, and produce alternative generic models to reuse and recycle architectural elements and spaces for functional flexibility through time. To approach the discussion, a documentary research methodology was applied to study the modular, prefabricated and ecological architectural typologies to address recyclability in buildings. The Atlas with case studies and architectural design strategies emerged from the analyses of projects from Durant to the 21st century. Furthermore, this thesis is a part of the research project Eco-Construction for Sustainable Development (ECON4SD), which is co-funded by the EU in partnership with the University of Luxembourg, and it presents three new generic building typologies. They are named according to their strong characteristics: Prototype 1 - Slab typology, a building designed as a concrete shelf structure in which timber housing units can be plugged in and out; Prototype 2 - Tower typology, a tower building with a flexible floor plan combining working and residential facilities with adjacent multi-purpose facilities; and Prototype 3 - Block typology, a structure characterised by the entire disassembly. The three new typologies combine modularity, prefabrication, flexibility and disassembly strategies to address the increasing demand for multi-use, reusable and resourceefficient housing units. The prototypes continually adapt to the occupants’ needs as the infrastructure incorporates repetition, exposed structure, central core, terrace, open floors, unfinished spaces, prefabrication, combined activities, and have reduced and different housing unit sizes, in which parts can be disassembled. They also densify the region that they are being implemented in. Moreover, the new circular typologies can offer more generous public and shared space for the occupants within the same building size as an ordinary building. The alternative design allows the reconversion of existing buildings or the reconstruction of the same buildings in other places reducing waste and increases its useful lifespan. Once the building is adapted and reused as much as possible, and the life cycle comes to an end, it can be disassembled, and the materials can be sorted for reusable or recyclable resources. The results demonstrate that circular architecture is feasible, realistic, adapts through time, increases material use, avoids unnecessary demolition, reduces construction waste and CO2 emissions and extends the useful life of the buildings. [less ▲]

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