Co-creating and applying Design Principles for Closed Material Loops, a Multi-Criteria Expert Consultancy

Wednesday June 6 at 15.45 in Duetto 1

Design choices, extending the service life of buildings and fostering closed material loops, are a key instrument for the transition towards a circular economy. For this reason, the Flemish Waste Agency OVAM published in 2015 a set of 22 design principles for increasing the versatility, adaptability and thus circularity of buildings. These principles have been developed and evaluated by the TRANSFORM Research team of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium since 2013 in de context of various consultancy programs, explorative master’s theses, strategic research projects, and construction system evaluations.

At this WASCON conference, the paper submitted by Galle W., Cambier C., Denis F., Vandervaeren C. and De Temmerman N. proposes and tests a major revision of those 22 design principles. This proposal includes a refined definition of three scale levels the criteria address (element, building and neighborhood), the three design aspects the criteria are organized by (components of each level, their interface and their composition) and each individual criterion, but also new aspects such as facilities, density and quality of locations and the purity, safety and renewability of the materials.

Brief description
To share this expertise, while developing it further, a two-objective workshop is proposed. On the one hand, we want to share these design principles across our national borders and discuss their applicability abroad. Therefore, case studies by the TRANSFORM team will be presented, and participants will be asked to discuss the difference with their context. On the other hand, to translate the set of principles into an assessment method for a refurbishment strategy currently under development, a multi criteria expert consultancy will be held. Therefore, participants will be invited to rank the difference principles, test some scorings and share their insights.

Practically, a very interactive set-up is chosen. The expert consultancy is organized in various phases, with in between examples and discussions. This will allow us to establish a growing insight with the participating building architects, researchers, engineers and consultants while evaluating subsequently the clarity, conciseness and relevance of the individual criteria. Therefore, and interactive projection of the case studies, and of the consultancy outcomes will be shown, using life collection of the experts’ responses through an online tool.

Wesley Lanckriet, Architect/founder at U/Define architecs, project architect at TRANSFORM
Waldo Galle, post-doctoral project researcher at TRANSFORM

Workshop organizer 
This workshop is an initiative of the TRANSFORM Research team of the department of Architectural Engineering of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, chaired by prof. dr. ir. arch. Niels De Temmerman. It fits the team’s research track on the qualitative assessment of buildings’ adaptability and generality, for better informed design and design consultancy. This track is executed through different PhD-projects and European research projects such as the H2020 project Buildings as Material Banks ( and the ERDF project Le Bati Bruxellois Source De Nouveaux Materiaux ( For more information and the team’s portfolio visit

Contact person
Dr. ir. arch. Waldo GALLE
Project researcher, TRANSFORM Research team
Department of Architectural Engineering, Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Pleinlaan 2 K104, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
32 (0)2 629 37 96

An initiative made possible thanks to the operational programme for the implementation of the European Regional Development Fund in the Brussels-Capital Region, and the European Commission Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.