Re:crete footbridge prototype

Re:crete footbridge prototype

The RE:CRETE footbridge is a prototype serving as a proof-of-concept. Funded by an ENAC Innovation Seed Grant, it uses 25 concrete blocks that were cut from a cast-in-place building currently under renovation in the region. The blocks were then assembled on a centering and with mortar in-between, in order to counteract with the wide variability in the block dimensions, which is characteristic of the reuse approach when compared with traditional manufacturing. Before removal of the centering, the thrust in the 10-m long arch was further increased with two post-tensioning cables running through the blocks centroids.

In terms of life-cycle assessment, the resulting arch provides a new lower-bound of global warming potential, far below any variant made of new material (concrete, steel, or even timber). The prototype also demonstrates that large amounts of concrete waste can be avoided by leveraging its load-bearing capabilities, while achieving a similar structural quality as a newly-produced concrete arch. This prototype opens up new directions to build with reinforced concrete … without pouring concrete.

Project team

Structural Xploration Lab


Jan Brütting
Maléna Bastien Masse
Julie Devènes
Maxence Grangeot

Life-Cycle Assessment:

Célia Küpfer


Corentin Fivet


Maxence Grangeot

Construction support:

Claude-Alain Jacot
Barbara Lambec
Jonas Warmuth
Raphäel Wegmann
Xavier Estrella
Numa Bertola
Stéphane Pilloud
Gavin Waddell
Matias Cesari
Augustin Pol


Journal Paper

Re:Crete – Reuse of concrete blocks from cast-in-place building to arch footbridge
Julie Devènes, Jan Brütting, Célia Küpfer, Maléna Bastien-Masse, Corentin Fivet
Structures, vol. 43, Pages 1854-1867

DOI: 10.1016/j.istruc.2022.07.012