Jan Brütting, PhD student at the Structural Exploration Lab (SXL) is a winner of the "EDCE PhD Mobility Award", May 2018. This award is given by the doctoral program in Civil and Environmental Engineering (EDCE) to encourage the best PhD students within the program to go for an academic visit to an external research institution. Read Jan Brütting's testimony about his PhD research and his future academic visit to Belgium.

"I am currently developing my PhD research at the Structural Xploration Lab (SXL), which is part of the Smart Living Lab in Fribourg. We conduct research at the interface of architecture and structural engineering with the aim of tackling global environmental problems caused by the building sector: exhaustive resource and energy consumption. My research focuses on the integration of circular economy principles in the structural design process. Circular economy advocates a closed loop flow of materials and components to extend their service life. For this purpose, I have developed structural optimization formulations that facilitate the design of reticulated structures, reusing a stock of reclaimed structural elements. At the same time, structural optimization remains a theoretical answer to the idea of integrating reuse in structural design practice. Gaining insight into real case applications is crucial to understand the potential drivers but also the limitations of this paradigm. From this standpoint, I will substantiate my research through a stay at two host institutions in Belgium, namely theKatholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) and theVrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB).

A stay at the Faculty of Engineering Science at KUL in collaboration with Prof. Mattias Schevenels, who is renowned for his work in the field of structural optimization, will be a valuable addition to my current optimization method. An extension of my methods to new structural typologies is a planned outcome of this stay. A second host will be the multi-disciplinary TRANSFORM lab at VUB, led by Prof. Niels de Temmerman, who conducts applied research on transformable buildings and component reuse as a response to above introduced environmental challenges of the built environment. Their experience can inform my developed methods with practical constraints that need to be considered to facilitate the design of structures in a circular manner."

Jan Brütting