In early May, 25 Bachelor students from EPFL took over the PopUp Workshop of the Smart Living Lab in Fribourg to participate in the ENAC week "Second hand constructive", devoted to the concept of circular economy in construction. Their goal? To design cabins from reclaimed elements available in the region.
Why throw away if you can recover? Why destroy if we can deconstruct and rebuild? Faced with the increasing waste of the planet's limited resources, second-hand construction is no longer a utopia but a necessity. As opposed to the usual approach of recycling by transformation of the material, the emphasis of the ENAC week "Second hand constructive" was on the enhancement of the intrinsic mechanical and functional qualities of each reclaimed element.
From conventional materials like wood or plastic sheets to more exotic, yet highly common waste products like louvers or drainage pipes, students had to pay attention to the functionality and stability of a cabin, as well as to its potential for mass production. To do so, they could benefit from the wide range of tools and technical skills available at the Atelier PopUp of EPFL Fribourg in the Smart Living Lab.
Building something new, useful and robust, with minimal economic and ecological costs, or trying to prototype on a small scale a new reuse channel that makes sense on a large scale, these were the challenges that the participants brilliantly met, supervised by Corentin Fivet, tenure track assistant professor, as well as Barbara Lambec and Maléna Bastien Masse of the Structural Xploration Lab (SXL).