This lecture asks how designers can reduce the waste produced by their buildings and products by implementing computational optimization within a design for circularity framework. Circular Economy is an idea that proposes moving from a ‘take-make-use-dispose’ linear economy toward a zero-waste future, where waste outputs are safely recycled as inputs for new products. In recent years there has been a proliferation of frameworks for circular design, which assist designers to develop products for a circular economy. These frameworks, however, remain generic and provide limited guidance on how to implement computational design techniques like optimization. In parallel, a variety of circularity indicators for products have also been introduced to provide quantitative assessment of attributes that reflect or contribute to a circular economy. To date no single circularity indicator has become standard and many indicators present an incomplete or biased reflection of circularity. Building on an overview of existing circular design frameworks and circularity indicators, this lecture proposes a method for introducing evolutionary multi-objective optimization into design for circularity. Examples from case studies are shared to illustrate the framework’s ability to generate both better performing designs and to assist the designer in navigating contradictions between circularity objectives.

About the Speaker

Peter Ortner is Assistant Professor and MArch and PhD Coordinator for Architecture and Sustainable Design at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. Peter’s research leverages computational techniques to create sustainable buildings and urban designs. His current research introduces optimization into the process of design for circularity and urban design, augmenting the ability of the architect to contribute to zero-waste, carbon neutral cities. Predicting urban metabolism data during design process is also an on-going research pursuit. In recent research Peter has applied computational design to challenges of urban resilience and automated mobility. His doctoral research at the EPFL built on insights from critical data studies and computational design to elucidate the changing role of architecture and architect in complex, data-driven urban systems.

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