New paper in Frontiers in Built Environment

© 2024 EPFL

© 2024 EPFL

Our new paper on the re:slab project is out in the Frontiers in Built Environment journal. The Open Access paper showcases the premises of "a load bearing system for open-ended component reuse in building structures", or in other words, how to push current limits of design-for-disassembly to embrace the unpredictable nature of future building transformations. The author is authored by Xavier Estrella (Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL), Alex Muresan (Aeternum), Jan Brütting (formerly at the Structural Xploration Lab), Dario Redaelli (HEIA-FR ITEC), and Corentin Fivet (Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL)

The construction industry plays a major role in the high levels of greenhouse gas emissions, resource consumption, and waste generation observed nowadays. Key to the circular economy, structural component reuse arises as a promising solution to divert construction waste from landfilling and avoid the production of new components. In this context, this paper presents the conceptual design of a new slab-and-column system called “Re:Slab”, optimized for disassembly and open-ended reassembly over multiple building lifespans. Beyond conventional considerations of modular sizing and reversible connections, the proposed system provides designers with a minimum kit of parts that is capable of exceptionally diverse building layouts–e.g., related to floor geometry, span between supports, applied loads, and spatial transformations. Attention is given to easily operable assembly and disassembly techniques, embodied environmental impacts, and manufacturing costs. As a result, the proposed system reaches unprecedented high levels of versatility, making it capable of adapting to future functional design requirements that are hard to predict over long-term social developments. Options for increased economic viability are identified, which are necessary to promote widespread adoption of the system.

Link to the full paper:

See also the Aeternum start-up that implements these principles: