Fiches de cours

Attention, ce contenu correspond à la fiche de cours de l'année passée

Building design in the circular economy


Enseignant(s) :

Fivet Corentin Jean Dominique




The class introduces the concept of circular economy and its applications to building design, with a focus on design for disassembly, reuse, and life-cycle assessment (LCA). The class develops a critical mindset and provides ready-to-use techniques.


Circular economy consists in maintaining and/or improving the value of products as long as possible, i.e. by extending or renewing their service live while minimising resource depletion, waste generation, and greenhouse gas emissions. When it comes to building design, a series of sometimes contradicting strategies emerges: to limit the quantity of used materials, to limit their ecological impact, to enhance the versatility of buildings, and to ensure the future repair, reuse, or recycling of their components. The class delves into recent literature and practice, aiming at providing the necessary expertise to adopt these strategies in a pragmatic state of mind.

The following chapters punctuate the semester:

  1. Introduction & Overview
  2. Environmental Footprint of Buildings: Situation & Assessment Methods
  3. Circular Economy (& Industrial Ecology): History, Principles, and Expectations
  4. Building Use: Density & Versatility
  5. Low-Impact Materials & Material-Efficient Systems
  6. Recycling & In-Situ Improvement
  7. Design for Disassembly
  8. Reversible and Adaptive Design
  9. Material Sourcing & Stewardship
  10. Regenerative and Restorative Design


Circular Economy; Industrial Ecology; Reuse; Open Building; Regenerative Design; Product Stewardship; Material Passport; Urban Mining; Dematerialization; Depollution; Design-for-disassembly; Modularity; Reversibility; Recycling; Upcycling; Cradle-to-Cradle; Technical & Biological Cycles; Ecological Footprint; Social Ecology; Carbon Emissions; Waste Production & Management; Material Depletion; Urban Metabolism; Refurbishment; Building Management

Learning Prerequisites

Required courses


Recommended courses


Important concepts to start the course


Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

Transversal skills

Teaching methods

The course alternates flipped classrooms with traditional delivery.

Flipped classrooms are scheduled as follows. Prior to the classroom session, students review two given short texts and two given case studies (usually architecture projects) in relation to the topic of the session. During the classroom session, students debate the topic and instructors provoke and structure the debate. After the session, selected students write an essay on the topic, which will be the main discussion point during their own final exam.

Traditional delivery sessions structure the content, introduce analysis and design methods, apply them through short exercises, and/or provide additional references.

Expected student activities

Students are expected to:

Assessment methods

Grades reflect both the student's activities during the semester and the final examination. The essay and its oral defense during the final examination account respectively for 30% and 20% of the final grade. Activities during the semester, e.g. quality and quantity of short reviews and participations in debates, account for the remaining 50%.


Office hours Yes
Assistants No
Forum No



A list of texts and case studies will be provided to the students at the beginning of the class.


The slides presented in the classroom will be made available online.

Dans les plans d'études

Semaine de référence

10-11   BC02 
15-16   BC01 
      Exercice, TP
      Projet, autre


  • Semestre d'automne
  • Session d'hiver
  • Semestre de printemps
  • Session d'été
  • Cours en français
  • Cours en anglais
  • Cours en allemand