101-0531-00L  Digitalization for Circular Construction (D4C^2)

SemesterSpring Semester 2022
LecturersC. De Wolf
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentAll students who register go onto a waiting list and 25 of them will be selected by the lecturer


101-0531-00 PDigitalization for Circular Construction (D4C^2)
Block course in June 2022 incl. on-site deconstruction workshops in Switzerland. Exact course dates will be published as soon as possible. Meanwhile, interested students are kindly asked to block the entire month of June 2022 in their calendar. MIBS students: 3rd semester on higher are eligible to apply.
120s hrsC. De Wolf

Catalogue data

AbstractStudents will learn about digital innovations for circular construction (e.g. reuse of materials) through hands-on learning: they will be accompanied on demolition sites to recover and reclaim building materials, they will learn how to use computational tools to design structures with an available stock of materials, and they will use digital fabrication techniques to build a dome on campus.
ObjectiveThe project has several goals:
•Teach students about the challenges of reuse in the built environment and how to overcome them in order to transition the construction sector from a linear to a circular economy – this can only be done through the proposed industry collaboration and hands-on, on-site learning.
•Show students how to design and built from A to Z: many engineering and architecture students end up acquiring amazing design skills, but have never been on a demolition site to disassemble the structure themselves – this course will offer this experience to them.
•Demonstrate how we can bring together two worlds that are often too distinct: low-impact construction and digital innovation – this course will explore which digital tools already used in other sectors could be beneficial for reuse and low-carbon construction.
ContentThis is a workshop-based course on circular construction on-site. During the first workshop, students will use photogrammetry from drone imagery and LiDAR scanning to capture data on building materials; Scan-to-BIM techniques for geometric reconstruction based on point-clouds; and computer-vision techniques for identifying material geometries, types, and conditions in order to make an inventory of available materials. During the second workshop, my industry partners (e.g., Baubüro in situ, Materiuum, Rotor) and I will work with the students on the disassembly of the building in a non-destructive way. During the third workshop, students will learn to use computational design tools to structurally optimize their structure’s shape with the available stock of materials. Finally, during the fourth workshop, students will build a dome structure with the reclaimed materials on the ETH campus. This class will enable students to explore all digital tools available (assessment, disassembly, design, and reassembly) for circular construction on a real-world case study.
Lecture notesWorkshop-based course & hands-on learning.
LiteratureSustainability – Circular Economy in the Digital Age special issue
Çetin, S., De Wolf, C., Bocken, N. “Circular Digital Built Environment: An Emerging Framework.” 13, 6348, DOI: 10.3390/su13116348
Prerequisites / NoticeInterest in Digitalisation and Construction.
MIBS students: 3rd semester on higher are eligible to apply.
Subject-specific CompetenciesConcepts and Theoriesassessed
Techniques and Technologiesassessed
Method-specific CompetenciesAnalytical Competenciesassessed
Media and Digital Technologiesassessed
Project Managementassessed
Social CompetenciesCommunicationassessed
Cooperation and Teamworkassessed
Customer Orientationassessed
Leadership and Responsibilityassessed
Self-presentation and Social Influence assessed
Sensitivity to Diversityassessed
Personal CompetenciesAdaptability and Flexibilityassessed
Creative Thinkingassessed
Critical Thinkingassessed
Integrity and Work Ethicsassessed
Self-awareness and Self-reflection assessed
Self-direction and Self-management assessed

Performance assessment

Performance assessment information (valid until the course unit is held again)
Performance assessment as a semester course
ECTS credits4 credits
ExaminersC. De Wolf
Typegraded semester performance
Language of examinationEnglish
RepetitionRepetition only possible after re-enrolling for the course unit.

Learning materials

No public learning materials available.
Only public learning materials are listed.


No information on groups available.


PlacesLimited number of places. Special selection procedure.
Waiting listuntil 15.05.2022
End of registration periodRegistration only possible until 01.05.2022

Offered in

Architecture MasterField of Technology in ArchitectureWInformation
Civil Engineering MasterMajor in Construction and Maintenance ManagementWInformation
Electrical Engineering and Information Technology BachelorEngineering ElectivesWInformation
Computer Science BachelorMinor CoursesWInformation
Integrated Building Systems MasterSpecialised CoursesWInformation