More on Biological Materials

Locally Harvested Materials

In ‘Green by Need’ Carola described historic building practices claiming that their character was local: humans sourced building materials locally and they also constructed following local traditional technologies. Construction was also embedded, she said, in social structures and culture. But have these practices become obsolete now? Can our return to circular principles also signal a return to harvesting materials and building locally?

In this video, Mo discusses cultural landscapes and how we can work in tune with local resources to produce construction materials without overexploiting the eco-system. She also discusses a project she undertook with her group, Bouwtuin.

Main Takeaways

  • Before the industrial revolution constructing houses was a local affair: knowledge was passed on from generation to generation and building skills were acquired in practice. This knowledge was lost because of the globalization of the construction industry.
  • The regional cultural landscape can thus be seen as the cradle for the local supply of natural building materials.
  • In order to achieve a balanced regional value chain of local construction materials, it’s important to understand to what extent resources can be harvested without overexploiting the eco-system.


Mo Smit
Mo Smit
Tutor & Researcher

Mo Smit is an architect and works as a graduation tutor, coordinator and researcher within the Chair of Architectural Engineering at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment of TU Delft. She is dedicated to research, design and development of the built environment in favour of social, ecological and economical resilience at large. Currently Mo focuses on the research field of circular neighbourhood development and the involvement of communities within the design process. She believes that circular design principles can contribute to the architectural and ecological quality of sustainable buildings and neighbourhoods. 

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Circularity for Educators

The platform is intended to provide with content on either circularity or pedagogy for and about circularity. It is one of the outcomes of the Circular Impulse Initiative (CII), a project intending to enhance the integration of circularity in the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment education. The platform mainly aims to help tutors get better acquainted with circularity in the built environment by providing a series of resources on this subject that they can either view to get better informed or directly share with their students in class or online. A large number of the Faculty's professors and researchers have contributed substantially both in creating a coherent narrative for circularity in the built environment as well as further elaborating on different aspects of it. Besides this one, a new platform for interaction and direct exchange was also established in parallel that we call ‘Educators for Circularity‘. This one offers the opportunity for all of us to meet and share our experiences and learn from one another.

Visit Educators for Circularity