Sustainable Materials for a new Architectural Practice - Entering a circular economy

New guest professorship of the Sto Foundation on the subject of sustainable building materials in construction at the KIT Department of Architecture

For the start of the winter semester 2021/22, the non-profit Sto Foundation had advertised a W2 professorship for a period of three years in the field of architecture. The aim of the call for applications is to support universities in opening up and establishing new areas in teaching and research.

The KIT Department of Architecture at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology is very pleased to have won the tender with its proposal for a visiting professorship on the topic of "Sustainable Materials for a new Architectural Practice - Entering a circular economy". A total of 38 proposals were submitted from seven countries. Over the next 2 1/2 years, six international visiting professors* will teach in three teaching teams in the Department's Master's programme in Architecture as part of the Visiting Professorship.

The three teaching teams are:

  1. Maarten Gielen (RotorDC, Brussels) in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Anupama Kundoo (Anupama Kundoo architects, Pune, Pondicherry/IN, Berlin/DE).
  2. Kerstin Müller and Oliver Seidel (baubüro in situ ag, Basel)
  3. Peter van Assche and Katja Hogenboom (bureau SLA - we are architects, Amsterdam)

The guest professors will address the question of how, in times of climate change and an increasingly glaring shortage of resources and pollution of our environment, we can deal responsibly with our natural resources in building by using materials in a sustainable manner.

Biological resources for developing sustainable building materials are basically abundant and unlimited. However, it is a challenge to use these materials in pure form in constructions without destroying natural cycles. Only in this way can they be returned to the biological cycle as a valuable source of raw materials after their period of use and represent an antipole to the throwaway mentality of inseparable mixed waste practiced in the construction industry today.

The courses offered as part of the visiting professorship will therefore focus not only on new material concepts, but also to the same extent on (re)construction technologies that are appropriate to the cycle. It is planned to implement experimental tests on a scale of 1:1 with the students in order to check the practical suitability of the developed concepts. In addition, excursions to selected projects, construction sites and material libraries in Germany and abroad will take place.

In addition to the lectures, the visiting professors will also present their work at public events such as the Karlsruhe Architecture Lectures and a symposium in March/April 2022.

Prof. Dirk Hebel, Dean of the Department, emphasises that the Department hopes that the visiting professorships will provide impetus for the EU's New Europe Bauhaus initiative, which will be launched in 2020. The initiative investigates how our lifestyles can be shaped in the future in order to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050.

Prof. Ralf Pasel, TU Berlin, Board of Trustees Architecture of the Sto Foundation explains:
"As a non-profit foundation, we too have long been driven by the question of how the transformation of our society towards a more circular economy and resource conservation in the building sector can succeed. What could our contribution to this look like? Against this background, we decided in the spring of this year to advertise a three-year W2 endowed professorship across Europe for the winter semester 2021/22. We are delighted that the jury decided in favour of the distinctly forward-looking research and teaching concept of the Department of Architecture at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, KIT, and are very excited about the development of the content and the didactic concept of the three selected teaching teams!"

For 17 years, the non-profit Sto Foundation has been supporting primarily the next generation in the finishing trade as well as in the study of architecture, civil engineering with a funding budget of one million euros per year.


1st year (WS 2021/22 - SS 2022)

Rotor - Maarten Gielen
Rotor asbl-vzw, Brussels

Prof. Dr. Anupama Kundoo
Anupama Kundoo architects, Pune, Pondicherry/IN, Berlin/DE

2nd year (WS 2022/23 - SS 2023)

in situ - Kerstin Müller and Oliver Seidel
baubüro in situ ag, Basel

bureau SLA - Peter van Assche and Katja Hogenboom
bureau SLA - we are architects, Amsterdam