Modular construction and circularity. A case study of a mass timber design studio




Design For Sustainability, Design for Circularity, Education for Circular Economy, Disaster-Relief Project, CLT


The increased use of wood-based materials such as CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) can reduce the GHG emissions of the construction sector. Likewise, offsite and modular construction methods can lead to more efficient material use, reducing construction-generated solid waste. However, it is worth noting that employing mass timber and modular construction is not automatically beneficial under all circumstances. The transition from the current linear, high-impact, and wasteful construction practices to a circular, regenerative one can offer an alternative solution to the problem. Moreover, high education institutions can play an influential role in this transition. However, there is a knowledge gap regarding education for circularity in architectural design. This paper aims to address this gap. It presents an educational approach integrating circular design principles with mass timber and modular construction in the setting of an architectural design studio. This paper analyses the pedagogical methods employed and the learning outcomes of the design studio. The results showed students successfully integrated architectural design and knowledge of modular mass timber technology with an innovative circular rationale and exceeded the learning outcomes in two cases.