Felix Heisel: Rethinking Abundance: Resource-Adequate Building, and the Example of UMAR

Black and white drawing of a closed-loop cycle for building materials

drawing / provided

Felix Heisel is convinced that all resources required to construct a building must be fully reusable, recyclable, or compostable. This places life-cycle thinking at the forefront of the design. Instead of merely using and subsequently disposing of resources, they are borrowed from their technical and biological cycles for a certain amount of time before being returned into circulation once again. Such an approach makes reusing and repurposing materials just as important as recycling and upcycling them (both at a systemic and a molecular/biological level). The Urban Mining and Recycling (UMAR) Experimental Unit is located in the NEST research building on the campus of the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology in Dübendorf, Switzerland. The building design created by Werner Sobek, Dirk E. Hebel, and Felix Heisel demonstrates how a responsible approach to dealing with natural resources can go hand in hand with appealing architectural form. Built according to the above-described principle, UMAR functions simultaneously as a materials laboratory and temporary material storage within the urban mine.

Heisel is a Hans and Roger Strauch Visiting Critic for the fall 2017 semester.

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