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  • Published on August 24, 2022

Entirely built by young trainees, the BRIC building is a sustainable, scalable and reversible construction developed by the interdisciplinary Brussels training centre, efp during three consecutive academic years, starting in autumn 2017. The BRIC is being assembled and disassembled on yearly basis. Each transformation is accompanied by a change in function: from an office (2018) to a shop (2019) and eventually an acoustic laboratory (2020) for training efp students. The first construction and disassembly of BRIC 1 proved the convenience and feasibility of integrating circular building techniques. The integration of the transformation phase into the design process provided a better forecast of the ability to recover materials and maintain their value. The aim is to provide circular building knowledge and skills to the construction sector on: reversibility and transformability, sustainability, reclaimed materials, efficient resource management with the focus on short value chain loops, energy efficiency. Involve local actors by stimulating interest in circularity among building stakeholders. The project was developed by efp training centre. By the end of 2018, more than 180 students had participated in the construction and disassembly of the first BRIC module. Local actors such as architects, contractors, manufacturers, resellers had participated to the development of the project. During its transformations, the project was testing the capacity of the construction to evolve in size and functionality. The ability of the project to be transformed and adapted to new functional needs makes BRIC a valuable scalable project. Making use of its reversible characteristics, such as the removable foundation, the building can be implemented in different places with minimal ecological footprint and ease of assembly to accommodate different functions.

The BRIC is a unique project that actively involves young people: the future construction professionals and entrepreneurs. It is an ongoing interdisciplinary laboratory of knowledge where students and experienced professionals exchange ideas and co-create the project all along its development. An open-minded approach allowed the re-assessment and redefinition of traditional stakeholder roles in the conception, construction, operation, deconstruction and re-assembly phases. BRIC is testing a set of constructive elements in a circular configuration. Conceived as a material bank, BRIC tested the extension of the lifespan of materials. The team analysed the capacity of each constructive element to be reused several times with almost no waste production. The first technical results proved that both circularity and energy efficiency objectives can be successfully met within the same project. For example, the BlowerDoor test, which measures the airtightness of the building, generated an excellent result (v50=1,6m³/h/m²). The BRIC concept is a perfect candidate for temporary occupation projects, such as seasonal shelters, which can meet the needs of niche market segments not necessarily covered by current construction industry offers. This case study is directly related to the work of the OPN SBC programme.

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