Dynamic Strategies for the renovation of post-war housing in Brussels

A short term perspective on building construction and retrofitting may result in much higher environmental impacts and higher building costs in the long run than those initially accounted for. Contributions of the total life cycle and the end-of-life of buildings are often overlooked, while these play a crucial role on the environmental impact and the overall financial picture of buildings. However, most buildings are not designed to anticipate any future modification to new use requirements, their components are not designed for disassembly, reuse or upgrade and building products are often chosen without future upcycling in mind. Consequently, when alterations are required or when the building needs to be removed, destructive demolition techniques are the only way to make these changes. Hence, enormous material streams are created going to landfill and combustion sites long before the technical service life of these materials had been reached. Furthermore, since our society is evolving faster and faster, the need to easily adapt our buildings to new socio-cultural and demographic trends becomes more and more pertinent.

This research project investigated the development and implementation of dynamic walls for retrofitting of residential buildings. Dynamic wall systems – as a part of a dynamic retrofitting approach – anticipate the future occurrence of alterations, upgrade or transformation processes by facilitating dismantling, reuse and recycling of materials. This innovative wall concept was developed as a sustainable alternative for conventional wall systems used in buildings today (made of bricks or drywall systems). The DynamicWall project further developed the experiences taken from the prototyping of wall assemblies during the DynStra (Dynamic Reuse Strategies for the retrofitting of post-war housing in Brussels) research project (2013-2014), in order to make the uptake of these solutions on the building market possible. The DynamicWall project further advanced in the design of wall systems that deal with the questions of reversible design and component reuse that can be easily assembled in analogy with Do It Yourself (DIY) kits.

The transition towards a marketable product was investigated through research collaboration with the Brussels’ industrial partner Tecnibo (specialized in flexible and environmental wall systems) and by implementing the solution in a real demonstrator. The applicability of the wall concept could be fully explored through development and testing under laboratory conditions, in view of its construction in a high-rise apartment block in the center of Brussels.

Through implementation of the wall system in a real demonstrator context a tangible physical deliverable was put forward in this project. This illustration of the project’s goals can serve as a catalyst for future research & development and debate amongst relevant stakeholders involved in the built environment of the BCR.




Testing and assembly of dynamic wall
 Assembly of dynamic wall