Circular Academy for Construction – How 3D modelling helped us refine our idea

Circular Academy for Construction – How 3D modelling helped us refine our idea

The topic of the circular economy is very broad and multiple perspectives coexist. Also, all sectors of economic activity are virtually covered. The construction sector represents a great topic for challenging the ways in which we develop our society nowadays. As a team of 4 motivated people working on different subjects, we tried to tackle these issues and prototype a solution, with an innovative approach (theory U) and in an uncommon environment (a social laboratory).

4 people actively driving the circular economy, but in very different sectors got together in the Circular Resources Lab. Whether in a bank, private company, start-up or a university, we had a common understanding about the importance of Circular Economy in construction .

The construction sector accounts for a great share of the negative environmental and human-made impact. Therefore, it’s a great area to start acting in! Having different backgrounds we expanded our knowledge and perspectives through the Lab, and integrated different ideas in our project definition. We always had the feeling that the contribution of each team member was pivotal to create something particular and different from what each of us would have been able to create alone. As said, the end result was different than the sum of our single contributions.

In the prototyping phase, we experienced the strength of our combined know-how during the  exercise of 3D modelling our idea.

At the beginning, it was difficult to imagine that a complex concept like Circular Economy can be visualised with trivial items like leaves, stones, buttons, etc. It was a great exercise to abstract the concept to a maximum and see our idea physically. Then, observing it from different physical angles and guiding our reasoning along predefined questions helped to get the whole picture.

3D Modelling is a powerful tool to make an idea tangible and creates the urge to define clear actions and deliver the results.

Our concept, an academy to raise awareness on the circular economy in the construction sector, targets practitioners from SME, to offer the most up-to-date knowledge on circular design and circular business model opportunities. Although clear from the beginning, the concept was subject to several iterations, and fuelled interesting discussions among the team members.

All in all, the Lab journey was a great experience to share different perspective and learn from each others. We felt enriched personally, and professionally, establishing connections, and potential formal collaborations.

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