This work develops ready-for-reuse building structures

Building uses evolve but construction material remains. In order to keep up with the constantly updated needs of our society, we renovate our buildings. More precisely, we replace their envelope or inner wall partitioning. And we try to keep their structural skeleton in place as long as possible. Despite modern developments in modularity, however, market requirements will sooner or later push the structural skeleton to be demolished as well and to leave room for a brand new one. But processing raw material for the construction industry results in substantial environmental impacts. Whereas solutions exist to design new building envelopes, finishing, and equipment that allow their reuse, no robust and global solution exists to effectively reuse structural load-bearing systems after deconstruction.

This research has been developed at the Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL.


This research aims at designing a highly-versatile load-bearing system for office buildings that can be disassembled and reassembled in new spatial configurations two to three times over a life-span of up to 200 years. While fulfilling certain boundary rules (maximum span, etc.), column positioning and module arrangements is meant to be as unrestricted as possible in order to allow any unpredicted use and transformation of the building over its lifetime. Reversibility in all connections allows for waste-free dismantling at the building end of life. All components then can be reused in different projects. Full-scale prototypes of the system have been tested and a patent request has been submitted. The research is currently carried on by Eng. Alex Muresan through the EPFL-based tech start-up AETERNUM Technologies.



Conference paper

Prestressed UHPC Beams for Reusable Structural Systems: Design and Testing

Dario Redaelli, Jonathan Moix, Alex Muresan, Jan Brütting, Corentin Fivet

fib International Conference on Concrete Sustainability, Prague, 2021 (accepted for publication)

Conference paper

Sustainability through reuse: a reconfigurable structural system for residential and office buildings

Alex Muresan, Jan Brütting, Dario Redaelli, Corentin Fivet

IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, vol. 588, p. 1.11-1.14
Beyond2020 – World Sustainable Built Environment, Gothenburg, 2020

DOI: 10.1088/1755-1315/588/4/042066
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Journal Paper – Invited to special issue “2040 Vision – Future of Structural Design”

Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is reused: Structural Design for a Circular Economy
Corentin Fivet and Jan Brütting
The Structural Engineer, vol. 98(1), 2020

Full text PDF

Conference Paper

Alex Muresan, Jan Brütting, Javier Cañada, Dario Redaelli, Corentin Fivet
Design Space of Modular Slab Systems with Discrete Stiffness Distribution and Irregular Column Layout
Creativity in Structural Design, Annual Symposium of the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures, Boston, 2018