KINTalk: Building towards circularity and digital innovation – April 5th

Author: Romano Audhoe

KINTalks – de Architekten Cie.: ‘Digital innovations in architecture, towards a circular economy’

Architecture is like good music. It plays an important part in our daily lives, people always have opinions about it and yet we often tend to take it for granted. But think about the last time you were in a building, perhaps you are in one now – reading this blog! Did you appreciate the value of the architecture, consider the embedded sensors inside, or thought about your relationship with it? In an interesting KINTalk session, Marten de Jong (de Architekten Cie.) shared his passion for architecture and explained its role in circularity and digital innovation. In his own words, he stated that ‘architecture is emotion, it is a very strong part of what we do.’ This emotion of architecture is something we experience ourselves. Marten explained this by giving a simple example: ‘when you buy a house you have a list of demands, but you end up buying a completely different building’.

So, what about digital innovation and circularity in architecture? The KIN Center of Digital Innovation is keen to learn about how organizations utilize and develop digital innovation and circularity. I’d like to share some key takeaways with you:

  • First, in digital innovation making mistakes is often considered a good thing (learning by doing). From an architectural point of view, there is no room for mistakes. Buildings are built only once, so it has to right the first time. An important consideration here is that transferring knowledge is very difficult in architecture. Marten explained that the collaboration with different partners and the execution of the building plans is a process that has to be carefully managed. Digital technologies are increasingly helpful in this sense, as it allows people to model building early on, and detect mistakes.
  • Second, when thinking of circularity only half of the story is using recycled materials to build the building, the other half is what happens after it. Marten explains circularity essentially involves viewing a building as having different layers – each with its own lifetime. By building a ‘digital twin’ of all these different layers (e.g. what materials were used) one can build up data that could later be used for the purpose of maintenance. Moreover, by understanding exactly what materials were used, buildings can be devalued to 5% instead of 0% over time.

In the session we have made a trip from the great pyramids of Gizeh to the most novel and smart buildings. It was quite clear that by the end of his presentation, Marten left the crowd inspired. Personally, I can say that I will never look at a building in the same way as before.

Now, I am already looking forward to the next KINTalk, which will be in about two months from now. Check out our website for more information and sign up for this event.

See you at our next KINTalk!