Circular and digital planning for the Biennale di Venezia

BIM and sustainability go hand in hand, as the German Pavilion at the Biennale Architettura 2023 entitled "Open for Maintenance" proves

image: ARCH+/SUMMACUMFEMMER/Büro Juliane Greb

A circular economy instead of a throwaway society, recycled building materials instead of overflowing landfills, conversion instead of deconstruction. This is the vision of the German Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia 2023. From 20 May to 26 November, visitors can experience this idea at the Germany's contribution to the architecture exhibition with the resounding name "Open for Maintenance".

Greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption

The construction industry is one of the world's largest emitters of CO2 and consumes many resources. Therefore, especially in the case of temporary buildings, such as an exhibit at the Biennale, it is important to dismantle materials carefully, repair them and then reuse them at another location.

For this reason, the curatorial team ARCH+/SUMMACUMFEMMER/Büro Juliane Greb is using building materials from country pavilions of the 2022 Biennale in the German Pavilion 2023. In this way, last year's exhibition serves as a storehouse of materials. But in order to create an entirely new building from the old and no longer needed elements, foresighted preparation is required: the key to success lies in digitisation.

Digital Building Twin

In cooperation with the Venetian initiative Rebiennale/R3B, a Digital Twin of the German Pavilion is being created. The digital image maps the entire life cycle of a building and helps with its planning, construction, operation and deconstruction. The Digital Twin catalogues all the materials used and includes all the relevant data on the individual building components.

But all this information has to be gathered first. For a conventional new building, planners can work with the BIM-enabled data sets of building components on 3Dfindit. Since they can download the 3D models there in over 100 different file formats, they are suitable for all common CAD and BIM software, so that all trades can work on the Digital Building Twin.

Special case of the circular economy

In the case of the German Pavilion at the Biennale di Venezia 2023, however, the planning team did not use new building materials, but used second-hand materials. Therefore, the existing buildings from the previous architecture exhibition first had to be inventoried. With the help of the platform Concular, a digital material database was therefore created. It records everything that was dismantled and recycled and was available for the construction of the new national pavilion: using the database, the planners matched their requirements with the supply in order to reuse building materials in a targeted manner. In this way, they were able to develop a design that conserves resources as much as possible, and the German contribution to the Biennale di Venezia is "Open for Maintenance".

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