Habitat Unit

Seminar SoSe 2024
David Bauer, Rosa Hanhausen, Baukreisel

concrete.matters: primary structure laboratory
Comparative Experiments with Reused Concrete by Baukreisel
BE-FELLOW programm, a collaboration with Bauhaus Earth & Experimental

Unlike any other modern building material, concrete has made it possible to build cheaper, higher and faster than ever before. From the hidden hero of ever more daring primary structures to a visible element of architectural design, it is omnipresent in today’s built environment. At the same time it is emblematic of the environmental challenges facing the building industry: although we know how carbon- and extraction-intensive the material is, we are still struggling to reuse it on a large scale.

To put things in perspective: within the last 50 years roughly 80 research and construction projects were realized reusing concrete structures worldwide, while in the first half of 2023 more than 135.000 building permits were issued in Germany alone. What are the systemic constraints and critics of reusing concrete? How to take the current call to stop demolishing and new construction into practice and solutions?

Photo: © Baukreisel

The research project "concrete.matters" conducted by Baukreisel, aims to investigate the possibilities of massively scaling the reuse of deconstructed primary concrete structures in transformation and new construction, while reflecting on existing research references, practitioners and projects. This exploration involves constructing 1:1 mock-ups that showcase a number of different approaches and reuse options to be reviewed and compared, thus defining an "Optimal Reuse Case" (ORC),  which may prove to be more advantageous when compared to business as usual. The ORC is defined simultaneously by environmental, economic, and social criteria compared to the usability rate of the reused structure.

During the seminar, you will be able to participate in this research effort, mapping stakeholders and flows, from understanding current limitations, to documenting and assessing state-of-the art techniques and participating in the building process of the prototypes at Bauhaus Earth's Marienpark Lab.

The seminar will be structured in two modules:
Module 1 (6 weeks, 13.05 – 21.06)  Applied research and material experiments
Baukreisel and Bauhaus Earth will provide a defined set of experimental mock-up options to be compared within the ORC framework and with current experts. Students will then work in small groups to test these ideas through 'table-top scale' experiments, having previously developed the details needed to carry them out. Topics to be explored include additional carbonation, alkaline binders, design for disassembly, carbon fibre reinforcements, etc.

Module 2 (8 weeks, 24.06 – 16.08) 1:1 Mock-up and process documentation
Using the results from the first module, 1:1 mock-ups will be built at the Bauhaus Earth LAB in Marienpark. Students will be able to experience and test the process first hand, document it and participate in the open reflection on the advantages and disadvantages of the chosen approaches. They will also be introduced to the building realities that will emerge from the research project.


* Baukreisel, one of the current BE-FELLOWs, is an interdisciplinary collective comprising architects, social scientists and economists with the common aim to radically increase the reuse of building materials, as a lever to reduce the gigantic footprint of the building industry in a short period of time. Their activities range from architectural practice to research (“reuse.matters”) as well as formal and informal teaching (“reuse.practice”) in the architectural field.

** The project-based Bauhaus Earth Fellowship Program (BE-FELLOW) is a collaboration between Bauhaus Earth and Experimental, a non-profit organisation promoting practice-based experimental and research-oriented projects in sustainable architecture.


Download poster here.

Course Information+

Seminar, 3 + 3 ECTS
Freie Wahl
MA UD, MA Arch, MA Arch T

First meeting
Monday, 22nd of April 2024, 11 am

during first meeting

Teaching Days
The seminar will be structured in two modules:
Module 1 (6 weeks, 13.05 – 21.06)
Module 2 (8 weeks, 24.06 – 16.08)

Teaching Staff
David Bauer
Rosa Hanhausen (Program Co-Manager BE-FELLOW**)
Baukreisel* (Architects, BE-FELLOW 2024)