Oliver HECKMANN_thumbnail_RESEARCH_Next Generation High-rise_Workflow

Sustainable Design – Comparative LCA Modelling for Adaptive Housing Typologies



Grand Challenge: Sustainable Built Environment

Research Team 

Principal Investigators:
Michael Budig
Oliver Heckmann

Research Assistants:
Ray CHERN Xi Cheng, Markus Matthias HUDERT, Amanda NG Qi Boon, LOO Jun Wen, Clement LORK, Zack XUEREB CONTI

Lynette Cheah, ESD / SUTD 
Colin Yip, Arup Singapore

Richard De Neufville

​Design-research based projects aim to find answers to the emerging challenges to human dwelling in the urban domain. They focus on socially and environmentally sustainable housing designs in urban contexts, and propose strategies for systemic adaptability to changing and diversifying societies and a social aesthetic of vertical communities, for climate-responsive layouts and material-efficient construction to minimize its impact on environment. Two projects combine this design research with the development of computational tools to evaluate the performance of designs.​

‘Next Residential High-Rise: Comparative Life-Cycle Assessment Study and Analytical Modelling for Adaptive Housing Typologies Based on Modularity and Composite Structural Systems’ 

The unprecedented growth of cities will significantly contribute to the massive environmental impact of construction and requires new approaches to design, material sourcing and application. At the same time shifting demographics and societal dynamics will question the resilience of urban habitats to adapt to changing demands, again impacting both their environmental and social sustainability.

It is consequently essential to look at the overall life cycle of buildings and to rethink the processes of designing, constructing, inhabiting and decision-making at all stages, both regarding the construction and operation of urban habitats. The research responds to these challenges with two interconnected tracks:

The research developed integrative tools for Life-Cycle-assessment (LCA) for early design stages in order to assess and compare the impact of alternative materials and construction systems. With an eye on the relation between flexibility and service-lifetime of buildings we also developed computational methods to assess the resilience of floor plans to accommodate changing demands.

The project developed a ‘Future Hybrid high-rise Commune’ as a generic high-rise type, that is also applied as a backbone to develop the tools and for comparative case-studies conducted with these. The design investigates variable and hybrid material- and construction systems that enable circular design strategies and the use of regenerative materials such as timber from South East Asian resources. The polyvalent layouts developed in earlier research allow to accommodate extremely diversifying models of co-habitation and enable adapting, re-sizing and re-programming of units with minimal changes of the hardware. The design will be exhibited at the Singapore Pavilion ‘To Gather’ at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2021 ‘How will we live together’

Life-Cycle-Assessment tool – Workflow Diagram