This work develops algorithms to synthesize structural layouts with optimized reuse rate.
Reusing structural components has the potential to significantly reduce environmental impacts of building structures because it reduces new material use, energy consumption, and waste. The principle is not new in structural engineering, yet its adoption implies a significant paradigm shift: The mechanical and geometric properties of available elements predetermine the layout of a structure, in other words: form follows availability. The operation is one that can be optimized computationally. What is the best way to assign reclaimed members into a structural system? What is the best topology and geometry of a system in order to best reuse a given stock of elements? How much savings can be achieved in terms of environmental damage?

To answer these questions, we developed new computational methods to design structures that make best use of available structural components. The methods include form finding, geometry, and topology optimization. An integrated Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) allows setting structure environmental impact minimization as the optimization objective. Case studies show that structures made of reused elements have a significantly lower impact than structures made of new elements. Often, combining reused and new elements is best.

This research has been developed at the Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL under supervision of Prof. Corentin Fivet and co-supervision of Dr. Gennaro Senatore.


Frontiers in Built Environment

Journal Paper – Invited to special issue “Structural Design Optimization”

Optimum design of frame structures from a stock of reclaimed elements
Jan Brütting, Gennaro Senatore, Mattias Schevenels, Corentin Fivet
Frontiers in Built Environment, vol. 6, article 57, 2020

DOI: 10.3389/fbuil.2020.00057
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Journal Paper

Environmental impact minimization of reticular structures made of reused and new elements through Life Cycle Assessment and Mixed-Integer Linear Programming
Jan Brütting, Camille Vandervaeren, Gennaro Senatore, Niels De Temmerman, Corentin Fivet
Energy and Buildings, vol. 215, 109827, 2020

DOI: 10.1016/j.enbuild.2020.109827
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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

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Journal Paper – IASS Hangai Prize 2019 – outstanding paper

Form follows availability – Designing structures through reuse
Jan Brütting, Gennaro Senatore, Corentin Fivet
Journal of the International Association of Shell and Spatial Structures, vol. 60(4), 2019

DOI: 10.20898/j.iass.2019.202.033
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Journal Paper – Invited to special issue “Advanced Manufacturing and Materials for Innovative Structural Design”

Design of truss structures through reuse
Jan Brütting, Joseph Desruelle, Gennaro Senatore, Corentin Fivet
Structures, vol. 18, 2019

DOI: 10.1016/j.istruc.2018.11.006
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Conference Paper

The reuse of load-bearing components
Jan Brütting, Catherine De Wolf, Corentin Fivet
IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science, 225 012025

DOI: 10.1088/1755-1315/225/1/012025
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Conference Paper
Exploration of spatial structures made from reused elements and the design of optimal kits-of-parts
Jan Brütting, Corentin Fivet, Gennaro Senatore
Structures and Architecture: Bridging the Gap and Crossing Borders, p. 229-236, CRC Press, 2019,
DOI: 10.1201/9781315229126-27
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Interviewed by Espazium in latest special issue

Interviewed by Espazium in latest special issue

Jun 25, 2021

Zirkuläre Architektur / Architecture circulaire / Architettura circolare Jan Brütting’s doctoral work, and more generally research activities at the Structural Xploration Lab, are featured in the latest tri-lingual special issue…

Works featured in “Werk, Bauen+Wohnen”

Works featured in “Werk, Bauen+Wohnen”

May 27, 2021

Werk, Bauen + Wohnen 5/2021 Recent research results produced at the Structural Xploration Lab, EPFL are discussed in the latest issue of the Werk, Bauen + Wohnen magazine (issue 5-2021 “Marterialkreislauf”). Werk, Bauen +…

Expert Lecture – Workshop – Circular Economy in Structural Design

Expert Lecture – Workshop – Circular Economy in Structural Design

Jan 10, 2021

DRIVEN is an incubation program aiming to embed advanced computational design strategies in early stage entrepreneurship for a Circular Economy. As part of their training program, DRIVEN is frequently hosting workshops…

die angewandte

Circular Strategies – Towards a sustainable built environment

Oct 2, 2020

Jan Brütting (SXL) has been invited to present his work at the symposium “CIRCULAR STRATEGIES – Towards a sustainable built environment” at the Institute of Architecture of the University of Applied…