Other - Recreate

June 28, 2024

Marcel Vullings – TNO

CROW is a Dutch organisation that gather and uncloses knowledge which is relevant for civil works and buildings. CROW officially launched the CROW-CUR Guideline 4:2023 “Reuse of structural precast concrete elements” on Tuesday (11-06-2024). This guideline provides a practical description of a working method that can be used in projects involving the reuse of structural precast concrete elements. It covers various aspects, such as preparations for deconstruction, the disconnection of elements, the temporary storage of elements, the assessment of rewon elements and the reuse of these elements in new structures. The guideline has a general section that covers topics that apply to reuse of all types of precast concrete elements. In addition, it has annexes in which specific products are highlighted . Currently, there are two annexes: annex A deals with reuse of hollow-core slabs and annex B covers precast prestressed bridge girders. More types of elements are going to be added to the guideline in the near future. The guideline is for both infrastructure and buildings, in the broadest sense of the word. Many aspects are the same for both, and the non-standard aspects are dealt with in the separate annexes.

TU/e, TNO and other experts, including contractors, engineering firms, clients and testing companies, contributed their knowledge, experiences and insights to shape the guideline. In this respect, the knowledge and experiences from the pilot projects of the Horizon 2020 project ReCreate were very valuable. The wide-ranging scope of ReCreate has helped shape all the guideline’s sub-sections.

CROW launched the Guideline on site at IJmuiden. Heidelberg Materials hosted the event and after presenting a quick overview of the guideline for a mixed audience, we all got a chance to check out the temporary storage (near Heidelberg Materials) for the harvested precast concrete bridge girders. Here, the girders are waiting to be used in new bridges at various locations in the Netherlands.

Hergebruik constructieve prefab betonelementen – CROW


Are you ready to embark on a journey towards sustainable construction and innovation? We’re thrilled to introduce the debut edition of the ReCreate newsletter, your gateway to the forefront of sustainable construction.

In our inaugural newsletter, titled “Precast Revolution: Welcome to Our First Project Newsletter” you’ll delve into the heart of the ReCreate project. Discover how we’re transforming the industry by reusing concrete components and significantly reducing carbon footprints by up to 98%. Learn about our mission to close the loop on concrete utilization, deconstruct precast structures, and catalyze circular construction.

Meet the passionate individuals behind the ReCreate project and learn about our goals to revolutionize the construction industry. From engineers to designers, and everyone in between, get to know the dedicated team driving innovation in our first issue.

But that’s not all! Our newsletter will also feature insights from our real-life deconstruction pilots, offering you a glimpse into innovative approaches to sustainable construction practices. Dive into our virtual exhibitions for an immersive experience, exploring cutting-edge technologies and advancements in the precast industry. Additionally, access downloadable publications filled with valuable insights and information.

Excited to be a part of this journey towards a more sustainable future? Make sure you don’t miss out on our inaugural newsletter! Subscribe now to stay updated on all the latest news and developments in the precast industry. Join us as we pave the way for a more efficient, sustainable, and innovative tomorrow.

Don’t miss out on exclusive content, insights, and updates. Subscribe today and be part of the precast revolution!

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The awesome people and organizations working on the ReCreate project continue to be recognized by their peers and the wider community. This time, we are proud to announce that our very own project coordinator, Satu Huuhka, has received the annual Sustainable Development award from the Finnish Association of Architects for her work and contribution towards achieving circularity in the construction sector through the projects she is heading, one of which is the ReCreate project.

Upon receiving her reward, Prof. Satu Huuhka said that she believes that the circular economy is now really taking off and that she can already see a future where factory-renovated concrete elements are on the warehouse shelf waiting for new projects.

However, this was not the only reward where the ReCreate project was recognized. Tampere University, specifically the Faculty of Built Environment, also received an award for the Advancement of the sustainable built environment because of their involvement in the ReCreate project.

Seeing our partners and their hard work recognized fills us with pride and motivates us to carry the project forward. We congratulate everyone on the received awards and we look forward to seeing what lies ahead for the project!


As part of the ReCreate project, pilot projects are being carried out in four countries in which buildings that were initially scheduled for demolition were instead dismantled, thus enabling the recovery of precast concrete elements. In the second part of the pilot project, at least some of these reclaimed precast concrete elements from the Prinsenhof building will be used to create the structure of a new building.

In the Netherlands, the building to be demolished was an office building of the province of Gelderland in Arnhem. The building was called Prinsenhof and was located near ‘the bridge which in 1944 was just too far away’. As part of the ReCreate project the building has been dismantled by Lagemaat, one of the Dutch ReCreate partners.

A complete model of Prinsenhof (Arnhem, Netherlands). Source: cementonline.nl.

The building in Prinsenhof consisted of two wings, one with nine floors and the other with five floors. The wings were connected by a core with a staircase structure which, in its entirety, consists of precast concrete elements. The structure of both wings is created by hollow-core slabs spanning of 13 meters between load-bearing precast façade elements.


Bird view of the Lagemaat yard with all the stored precast elements of the Prinsenhof Building Source: Lagemaat

Now all the structural precast concrete elements are stored at the yard of Lagemaat in Heerde, They are waiting for their reuse as part of the structure of the Knowledge Center that Lagemaat, as second stage of the Dutch Pilot Project, is planning to construct.

February 17, 2023

Not long after ReCreate was featured in an esteemed Chilean magazine, the project is at it again! Just recently, the project found itself sitting atop the #93 spot on this year’s Maktlistan – a list of the most powerful and impactful in Swedish architecture and design.

The list is created and published by Rum – a well-known and established Swedish architecture journal that recognizes and applauds great achievements in architecture and design, as well as the people behind them. Each entry in the list receives its own whimsy, positive (and sometimes even comical) comment and ReCreate was not ”spared” in this manner.

The authors of the text playfully acknowledged the aim of reducing carbon emissions through the reuse of precast concrete by saying that Mr. Stenberg ”will ensure that the rest of us will be able to breathe” because of the project.’

The ReCreate project would like to thank Rum magazine for recognizing the effort, expertise, and hard work that the Swedish country cluster, along with other country clusters and project partners are investing in the project.

January 18, 2023

ARQ magazine, a non-profit architecture magazine published by Ediciones ARQ of the
School of Architecture at the Universidad Católica de Chile, published an article on the ReCreate project!

Swedish country cluster leader and esteemed professors Erik Stenberg and Jose Hernandez Vargas, along with our project coordinator and associate professor at Tampere University Satu Huuhka, shared their knowledge on the project and what it wants to achieve.

The article showcases the reasoning, as well as the historic and environmental context behind the idea for the ReCreate project, as well as the methodology and technology that underpin the project. Also, they give a breakdown of the pilot buildings, what were their functions before deconstruction and what elements will be gained from it.

But don’t take our word for it! You can check it out yourself by clicking on the link here!

January 11, 2023

ReCreate German Country Cluster leader Prof. Angelika Mettke was interviewed for an article in the regional daily newspaper Lausitzer Rundschau and for an online report of the ARD Tagesschau, in which she presented an already realized reuse project in Kolkwitz as well as the plans for the ReCreate research project. In addition to Prof. Mettke, the deconstruction company ECOSOIL (industrial partner in the German ReCreate Cluster) was also interviewed for the newspaper article. The title “Lausitz gives new life to old slabs” refers to the Lausitz region, where Cottbus is located and the BTU and ECOSOIL are based.

Both articles first present the sports clubhouse in Kolkwitz near Cottbus. In 2009, the building project was realized using used concrete elements. The used concrete elements were recovered from a prefabricated slab building from GDR times that was located in Cottbus. ECOSOIL was commissioned with both the deconstruction of the 8-story slab building and the construction of the new building. Prof. Mettke from BTU designed the construction project together with the future users and accompanied the implementation of the project scientifically with her team of employees. Based on the process recordings for the deconstruction and the reuse of the concrete elements, the savings in resources and greenhouse potential were calculated in comparison to a conventional design.

The (re)construction project serves the BTU and ECOSOIL as a reference for an implementation possibility and what is feasible, with concrete elements suitable for reuse. ECOSOIL has become the market leader in the careful element-oriented deconstruction of prefabricated buildings, while the BTU has become an initiator and consultation partner for (re-) construction projects.

In addition, Prof. Mettke and Axel Bretfeld (Managing Director of ECOSOIL) presented the ReCreate project and the European partnerships with the Finnish, Swedish and Dutch clusters. The goals and tasks of the project were outlined in the articles as well as an outlook on the planned German pilot project of a youth center in the city of Hohenmölsen.

November 7, 2022

Leader of the ReCreate Swedish country cluster Erik Stenberg had another interview where he outlined the importance and advantages of the project.

The advantage of the concept is that the climate footprint and amounts of waste are radically reduced as it is much better to reuse entire elements than to grind down the concrete and use it as filling material, says Erik Stenberg.


Today, concrete elements are very rarely reused. At EU level, the figure is zero percent and in Sweden there are a few isolated examples. This is mainly because it is cheapest and easiest to build with new concrete. The business models for reuse do not exist and all parts of the construction sector are adapted to new materials, says Erik Stenberg. The goal of KTH researchers will be to examine the business chain for the reuse of concrete elements in the Swedish context and how it is affected by processes and regulations in the construction sector. Sweden actually has good conditions for reusing concrete elements because we built a lot with prefabricated concrete in the 1960s to 80s. Even if the elements are not manufactured to be taken apart and used again, according to Erik Stenberg, this is entirely possible.


The pavilion that the researchers built and displayed during H22 was a successful sub-project. The building consisted of 99 percent recycled material and the climate footprint had been reduced by 90 percent. The mistakes made gave the researchers new insights, for example that concrete must be handled carefully. The reuse also led to unexpected architectural solutions.

The elements were larger than we imagined, which resulted in a sturdier building. Solutions around doors and windows had to be adapted to this and the house’s pillars got a new design when they proved to be too heavy for the slab. Instead of being seen as obstacles, the limitations can contribute to interesting architecture, says Erik Stenberg.

Erik Stenberg also maintains a studio where students design buildings based on the concept in the research project. Erik Stenberg says that the students have shown that it is possible to design houses with good layouts and good light conditions from recycled concrete elements and that it is possible to design both row houses and point houses with elements from slatted houses.

October 5, 2022

Erik Stenberg, a lecturer in architecture at the KTH School of Architecture and leader of the Swedish ReCreate country cluster, investigates the current practices of the reuse of precast concrete in the world.

He posits that offices with prefabricated concrete structures are the most common buildings that are demolished today, most often for housing construction, and that concrete from those demolished buildings is simply ground and that we create an unnecessarily big impact on the environment by doing so.

”When recycling, the product is changed and used for something else, or in the same area of use. When we are reusing, it is used once more in the same form and design.”

– “I’m afraid that someone will think that, like in Denmark, we will start grinding programs worth millions. It would be capital destruction because the houses are built with quality and will last at least another 150-200 years if they are dry and warm.” said Erik Stenberg.

According to him, Denmark also failed to meet the goal of reusing building elements in projects, in order to incorporate a better local history for residents, because the EU directive is that at least 70 percent of a building’s weight must be reused during demolition. However, in the Swedish ReCreate pilot study, the figure dropped to a staggering 99 percent!

He concluded that there were some mistakes in the project, but now they know where the obstacles lie in the construction permit phase, how access and quality can be ensured, and how the concrete elements can be reassembled, which enables an immediate reduction of carbon dioxide in new production.

June 10, 2022

In the middle of Drottninghög, researchers from KTH are building a pilot building in the form of a pavilion from recycled concrete. The building is part of the H22 City Expo fair, which takes place between 30 May and 3 July.

The building stands on a plot where a preschool previously stood. KTH researchers have been able to use the base plate from the preschool for the building, which is 8×22 meters wide, 4 meters high, and consists of a few hundred tons of concrete. The building consists of 99 percent recycled material.

”The production of new concrete is very resource-intensive and accounts for 3-4 percent of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions. By using recycled concrete in new buildings, emissions could be radically reduced. Our calculations show that by using recycled concrete in our pilot, we get a reduction of the carbon footprint by 96 percent compared to if we would have used new concrete. So this recycling of concrete points to a way forward.

Today, office properties are demolished from concrete that is perhaps 40 years old to make room for new homes. But that concrete has a much longer technical life than that, 100, 200, maybe up to 300 years as long as it is hot and dry. And if we are to access the carbon dioxide consumption in new buildings, we must have access to these heavy concrete frame elements.” – says Erik Stenberg, professor at the KTH University.


EU project on recycling of concrete elements

Professor Stenberg also leads the Swedish part of the EU project ReCreate – Reusing Precast concrete for a Circular Economy – whose purpose is to investigate how to reuse concrete elements in new buildings. The project, which is funded by the EU’s Horizon 2020 program, is led by the University of Tampere and the initiative also includes Eindhoven University of Technology and Brandenburg University of Technology.

Within the framework of the project, all four participating universities will produce two pilots – one digital and one physical. Unlike Tampere, Eindhoven and Brandenburg, KTH started with the physical pilot, the one that is now shown in Helsingborg, and will then make a digital one. The three partner universities’ first digital pilots can be viewed in the form of 3D-printed models of each donor building in KTH’s pavilion pilot.

There will also be descriptions of the various projects. But the exhibition’s focus is on Helsingborg and Drottninghög. Among other things, we present a project on recycling concrete in Drottninghög that some of our students at the School of Architecture worked on last autumn, says Erik Stenberg.


Challenge for architects

In addition to his role as leader for the Swedish part, he works with historical analyzes and a mapping of where concrete elements are, when and where they were built, in what form, by whom and for what. Two more KTH researchers are involved in the project – Kjartan Gudmundson from the Department of Sustainable Buildings and Tove Malmqvist from the Department of Sustainability, Evaluation and Governance, SEED.

Kjartan Gudmundson looks at issues such as quality assurance – concrete quality and the presence of hazardous substances – and digitization of historical and new information about concrete elements that can accompany them when they are used again, while Tove Malmqvist works with issues such as life cycle analysis, climate impact, business models, and regulations.


“This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 958200”.

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