CORNELL UNIVERSITY’S DEPARTMENT OF ARCHITECTURE IN THE COLLEGE OF ARCHITECTURE, ART, AND PLANNING ADOPTS NEW MADASTER EDUCATION PLATFORM

Laren, NL; Ithaca, N.Y. April 9, 2020 — Students and faculty at the Department of Architecture at Cornell will be the first to test the Madaster Education Platform for its use as a teaching tool in design studios. Over the next six months, architecture students and instructors will experiment with the software and research a possible joint project with Madaster, exchanging initial impressions and feedback as well as design outcomes and ideas.

“The circular economy requires a paradigm shift in the way we design and construct buildings, and radically changes the way resources are to be managed within the industry. Architectural education needs to adopt to these new realities and train critical and technically-equipped young minds.”
Felix Heisel, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture
Director of the Circular Construction Lab
Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning (AAP)

Key to a circular building economy is a registry of usable materials in the built environment. However, until now, the international debate about material passports and platforms has been largely focused on the documentation of new construction—post-design. In an effort to fundamentally change the way we design and consequently build our future cities, the Circular Construction Lab at Cornell AAP engages tools such as material passports and circularity indicators in the early design phase. By embedding the Madaster Education Platform in select design studio courses in the Department of Architecture and the lab’s research, requirements and limits of the current software version will be tested assessed and evaluated based on their effect on better understanding and teaching circular design and construction. The common project goal is a joint development of new teaching tools that help students and instructors compare the impact of early design decisions on material circularity and the circular economy. Development will be informed by student feedback and project inputs, as well as an industrial and scientific analyses of the achieved results.

ABOUT THE CIRCULAR CONSTRUCTION LAB AT CORNELL AAP

Directed by Assistant Professor Felix Heisel, the Circular Construction Lab (CCL) in the Department of Architecture at Cornell AAP houses a design research program that advances the paradigm shift from linear material consumption towards a circular economy within an industrialized construction industry. At the intersection of architecture, engineering, material and computer science, as well as economics, the lab investigates new concepts, methods and processes to (1) design and construct buildings as the material depots for future construction, and (2) activate the potential of the built environment as an ‘urban mine’ for today’s construction. CCL understands architecture as part of a regenerative and restorative cycle and sees design as a vehicle that can advance this ambition with excellence in teaching and research. Through close collaborations with academic, industrial, and legislative/political partners the lab ensures the relevance of its work and promotes the direct and full-scale implementation of research results towards a more sustainable, low/no-carbon, circular construction industry.

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