"Realised in the framework of the GTB innovation centre for circular building in Heerlen, the Green Transformable Building Lab (GTB Lab) module has been developed around a reversible multifunctional steel frame which was filled by
independent, exchangeable, standardised and reversible floor, facade and roof components. "    

Key Takeaways

"To date, a single module has been built with the newly developed components: universal steel profile, standardised reversible wooden cassette, glass heated façade. Since its construction in December 2018, the flexible and evolving structure was transformed once. In the future, the construction is intended to be scaled up, receive a specific functionality, and eventually be transformed several times. 

"    "GTB Lab investigates the development of entirely new circular products by completely switching from the traditional construction approach. The Lab was designed as an open platform. By introducing plugins in building components,
the structure was and will be able to change form and function. It can adjust its configuration to the required performance without substantial loss of value of materials while providing optimal comfort, healthy climate, and local energy
production. "


Project Achievements

"Today, the footprint of the metal as a material for construction is assessed based on the end of life recycling scenario. The biggest achievement of the GTB Lab is to demonstrate the necessity to change these assumptions. Not only
should the reuse scenario be taken into consideration, but the impact of upgradable standardised modular systems and exchangeable components should be integrated and enhanced in the calculation. "    

Project Stakeholders

The joint participation of the construction industry (six active manufactures) in the development of the GTB LAB enabled the investigation of new business and operational models that makes a circular project feasible.  

Project Outcomes

 "The GTB LAB CIRCULAR MODULE achieves full reversibility and high reuse potential of all its building parts. Four strategies were investigated and applied.
Constructive systems of the module can play different roles as facades, roofs and floors. For example, the wooden facade structure was used to create a floor/terrace during the transformation of the module, extending its useful surface.
Individual components can be reconfigured for instance within a facade transforming a door into a window or a shelf.
Coordination between the design and production of elements cuts waste generation by 98%.

Project Replicability
The standardisation and the ease of assembly-disassembly facilitate replication. Moreover, the 3D-module can be transported and extended easily."    

Project Scalability

The standardisation, universal connections between different elements, and the correlation between the lifespan of materials are solutions developed by GTBL that can be integrated in the construction industry of tomorrow.     Due to its modularity, the GTBL is intended to be up scaled subsequently.  Modules can be stacked in different spatial setups.     


Three Main Challenges

"1. Testing innovative solutions can lead to delays in terms of planning
2. Risk related to the innovative solutions implementation is considered high
3. Building procedures and policies are often barriers for circular building implementation"    

Three Main Successes

"1. Test Reversible Building Design protocols developed within BAMB
2. Test of innovative products that combine circularity with comfort, energy efficiency, energy production, etc. 
3. Emphasise the need for qualitative architecture 
4.  Test the assessment of reversibility of buildings and automate it through the use of BIM"