Learning from Circular Pioneers

This subproject, led by Vanessa Feri, scrutinizes how reusing building components in architecture transforms processes, social interactions, and the roles of architects in Switzerland. In an ethnographic study, Vanessa investigates the actors' perspectives focusing mainly on architects and reuse specialist planners. The aim is to learn from these pioneers dealing with reclaimed materials and examine their everyday work, skills, and experiences on reuse.
In the one-year fieldwork, Vanessa accompanies the Swiss company "Zirkular" that advises their clients on circular construction and offers services such as detailed screenings of buildings, material assessment and CO2 calculations. She is interested in their expertise, collaborations and handling of challenges as well as understanding what designing with and for reuse means for them and their partners. Following a human-centered approach, Vanessa observes and collects the stories of various reuse actors sharing their everyday work life and talking about their own understanding of roles. She attends public events and talks to reuse actors informally, joins Bauteiljäger:innen (material hunters) on their mission, and participates in meetings with clients. Being present in the field gives her insights into complex workflows as well as the required skills and power relations enabling or hindering the reuse of building components. This project discusses which processes, structures, and collaboration prove their worth in order to establish the Swiss reuse practice on a larger scale.