The mission is clear: our built environment must be fully circular and energy neutral by the year 2050. What does this mean for the materials we use? Which materials are circular and how are they best applied?


Initiatives like the material passport of Madaster and the urban mining initiative from New Horizon are becoming more frequent, and reusing materials is becoming increasingly important. Alongside the techno-cycle, materials in the bio-cycle are growing; building with wood and CLT is gaining in popularity, thermally modified wood is more like a rule than an exception and even bamboo constructions are possible nowadays. Aside from that, residual materials from the textile industry, agriculture and packaging materials are a source for new raw materials for insulation, a variety of finishing materials, and interior decoration. Aside from circular building, 3D printing with a variety of materials offers opportunities for efficient material use and faster production processes. The technical developments of glass such as constructive, curved and interactive features are a source of spectacular architecture. By combining nature with the newest technologies, it is possible to innovate architecture and to close the cycle of materials.

Our Architecture ambassadors

Ben van Berkel

Filippo Lodi

The sector architecture is represented by Ben van Berkel and Filippo Lodi of the architecture and design studio UNStudio.


Founded in 1988 by Van Berkel and Caroline Bos, UNStudio is an international architectural design network based in Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Shanghai. Current projects include the design for Qatar’s Integrated Rail Network, the large-scale mixed-use project FOUR Frankfurt, and the headquarters of in Amsterdam.


With UNStudio, Van Berkel has realised the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Arnhem Central Station in the Netherlands, the Raffles City Hangzhou mixed-use development, the Canaletto tower in London, a private villa in upstate New York and the Singapore University of Technology and Design, amongst others.


Lodi holds several master’s degrees in engineering, architecture, art and business. As Head of Innovation and Knowledge Management, Lodi leads UNSKnowledge, UNStudio’s strategic research and development thinktank. He develops of disruptive technologies for the built environment from a unique coating that cools down buildings to forest-based biocomposites for facades and interior partitions – as well as providing consulting services to companies on their workflow and rebranding strategies.


In 2018, Van Berkel founded UNSense, an Arch Tech company that designs and integrates human-centric tech solutions for the built environment. It works very closely with UNStudio to develop new sensor-based technologies geared specifically for improving people’s health in the built environment.


Read the interview here

Special Items

A small selection of what you can expect:

Mycelium Bricks

Mogu makes bricks and other objects out of mycelium, the spore-system of fungi. These spores can grow in every desired shape and live on organic waste like sawdust. The material has similar qualities to Styrofoam and can be used in a wide variety of applications.


The company Goodhout makes wood-like materials out of coconut residue. The material is 100% natural.


A small selection of what you can expect:

Roof tiles

BorjaJet roof tiles combines traditional ceramic roof tiles with inkjet printing. Using this technology, Tejas Borja is able to make tiles with a wide variety of finishes such as slates, woods, stones, marbles and oxides. The technology, used for the first time on roof tiles, allows the advantages of classic ceramic roof tiles with the look of another material, without the need, for instance, to cut down trees or quarry stone.

Buton bubble concrete

Butong bubble concrete panels are made by pressing two form matrices together. How these matrices join inside the panel determine the filter effect of the panel. The panels have holes from both sides of the panel in a hexagonal pattern. Due to that the cells of the two sides of the matrix are joined, the panel will keep its uniform thickness. In its semi-hard condition, panels can easily be manipulated or cut into shape.


Wireglass is a project of Caroline Prisse and Marieke van den Heuvel, which resulted in various dynamic weaves integrated into glass. The metal textile weaves are made of stainless steel, copper and iron, and especially designed for this purpose. The metal, perforated sheets have been melted along with the glass.


Typha, commonly known as reed, cattail or bulrush, is a fast growing plant that flourishes in the watery areas of Friesland in the Netherlands. Studio Tjeerd Veenhoven is developing insulation suitable for cavity walls that meets the current building standards. The aim is to make the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as sustainable as possible. They strive for low CO2 emissions and low energy use, and avoid the use of harmful substances, by harvesting, producing and applying the value chain locally.


Lignoloc nails are made of beech wood and offer an sustainable alternative to metal nails or glue. Beech wood was especially chosen because its straight growth gives it the most homogenous cell structure. The nails are available in lengths up to 90 mm. It is possible to drive the nails in with a hammer, without pre-drilling, as the hardness of the wooden nails is comparable to aluminium ones, but Beck recommends using their special LignoLoc pneumatic nailer, which generates a large amount of heat by friction and welds the nail with the surrounding wood.