The demolition of residential buildings has historically resulted in a loss of residents and social cohesion, in the downcycling of recovered materials of low (or no) market value, as well as in high environmental costs through lost embodied carbon. The embodied carbon in new raw materials adds to the losses. Super Circular Estate, a project running in Kerkrade in the region of Parkstadt Limburg, sought to mitigate these losses by:
- Exploring material circularity and reuse options in new construction by ‘deconstructing’ an existing 1968 10-storey apartment block and harvesting its materials to construct three demonstrator homes in the same neighbourhood using different reuse/recycle techniques and using up to 75%-100% of the recovered materials. Demolition and construction took place simultaneously, with the demolisher supplying the building contractor with the materials harvested from deconstruction. Super Circular explored several material and circularity and reuse options for the new buildings via a material inventory bank and developed several new managerial and technological techniques and spin-off construction products (circular concrete, a new type of brick, etc.).
- Maintaining social cohesion during demolition, relocation and reconstruction processes by involving residents and having the former residents return to live in the new dwellings to preserve local social cohesion.
Super Circular is to be followed up with the renovation of a second apartment block in the same neighbourhood. This second block will be given a new ‘social plinth’ otherwise known as an active ground-floor community area. It will be equipped with new facilities to enhance the liveability of the building.