Circle House

Straight lines, circular visions
Circle House is the world’s first residential project designed and built after the principles of circular economy, which, among other things, means the building can be disassembled, and the project’s materials can be reused without loss of value. RUM has in collaboration with Torntoft & Mortensen og Sweco won the turnkey competition to build 60 residential units in Lisbjerg.

A precedent for circular economy on market terms

Prior to the turnkey contract competition, a collaboration took part between a variety of enterprises from the Danish construction sector across the value chain. The development of the project is supported by the philanthropic association Realdania and the Danish Environmental Protection Agency. The result of the process is the unprecedented Circle House project. With the collaboration of 60 different enterprises along the value chain, the goal of the project has been to develop and broaden the knowledge of circularity in the industry, as well as to create a scalable example of circular economy on market terms.

Design for disassembly leads to 90% reuse

The goal of the project is that 90% of the project’s materials can be reused without significant loss of value. Based on the outline proposal, we applied the principles of DfD in all parts of the project and we have stayed true to the initial layout and placement of the project. However, by challenging the construction principles, we have been able to achieve an even higher degree of reusability of the prefabricated concrete elements.

Construction system with minimum of element typology

We have developed a modular building system that can sustain a variety of building typologies with a minimum of element types, which improves the prospect of reusing the materials. The construction system consists of a load-bearing concrete frame. Lightweight prefabricated wooden elements filled with insulation are then mounted providing support for the facade cladding. The top floor of both tower blocks is built with prefabricated wooden elements, which allows us to explore different construction details and grow our practical knowledge of the concept of DfD.

Diversity and manifold look

The building typologies are a mix of 2-and 3-storey terraced houses and 5-storey tower blocks. All the houses have a light facade cladding with a partially visible suspension system that enables future disassembly. The facades consist of a variation of fiber-reinforced concrete plates, wooden cladding and aluminum sinus plates that give the building a multilayered look. The DfD principles are clearly expressed in the facades’ marking of the underlying frame construction and in the interior encounters between the materials.

Comprehensive strategy for sustainability

As part of our broad strategy for sustainability, we have also set an emphasis on the social aspects of the project. With the agenda that Circle House should not revolve exclusively around DfD and be merely a conceptual proof, we have strived to create attractive apartments appealing to a multitude of demographics. Through deliberate choice of materials and a variety of design solutions, we have managed to create appealing aesthetics in the apartments. The design concept supports a variety of layouts, so that the apartments provide an opportunity for privacy and individualism. The occupancy process should ensure the understanding, use and not least, the worth of the Circle House dwelling.