Reuse and repurpose in the built environment
(Source: Mad arkitekter; Photo by Kyrre Sundal)

Reuse and repurpose in the built environment

A 1950s office building in Oslo, Norway was renovated and expanded incorporating nearly 80 percent recycled components, reducing embodied carbon emissions by 70 percent compared with new construction levels.

Summary: A 1950s office building in Oslo, Norway was renovated and expanded incorporating nearly 80% recycled components, reducing embodied carbon emissions by 70% compared with new construction levels.

Why this is important: Some of the biggest debates about our future buildings relate to the materials they will use, and the new build vs refurb/repurpose debate. Traditional wisdom used to be that demolishing provided the best financial case, but this is changing. Not only are the economics of refurbishment improving, but re-use taps into a growing tenant demand for greener, more environmentally sound buildings. To accelerate this process, we need more successful case studies.

The big theme: The built environment is an important sustainability theme, both as an integral part of societal existence but also as a major decarbonisation (40% of energy-related GHG emissions) and resource consumption problem (40% of global raw materials). There are many avenues to decarbonise across all phases of a buildings life: design, construction (and deconstruction or demolition), operations and interaction with other structures and the environment. Reduce, reuse and recycle and circular design principles can be applied to the built environment to reduce its overall environmental footprint and sustainability.



The details


Summary of a story from METROPOLIS

An Oslo-based architecture studio founded in 1997, Mad Arkitekter, designed an office building incorporating nearly 80% recycled components in a refurbished 1958 office building and an eight-storey, 9,200 sq ft addition. The components included structural steel, tile, bricks, wood, cladding panels, windows and concrete floor plates from 25 demolition sites around Norway that the company's design team sourced and cut to size. The resulting 43,000 sq ft building, which is located at Kristian Augusts Gate 13 in Oslo, was completed in 2021, reducing its embodied carbon emissions by 70% compared with new construction levels.

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