Urban Bricolage. Mining, Designing and Constructing with Reused Building Materials

Prof. Madlen Kobi

Contact: madlen.kobi@unifr.ch

Picture: Demolition site in Vienna, Radetzkystrasse, June 2022 (Madlen Kobi)


At the intersection of anthropology and architecture, the SNSF-funded project “Urban Bricolage. Mining, Designing and Constructing with Reused Building Materials“ investigates everyday resistances when handling reused materials in four European countries (Switzerland, Austria, Italy, Poland) to optimize the circular economy of building construction. The project enquires into the practical problems that scrap dealers, middlemen, architects, engineers, digital experts, company owners, and carpenters face when working with reused materials. It combines architectural debates on the technical possibilities, aesthetic reconfiguration, and material transformability of reused materials with an actor-centred approach on human-material relations. Beyond the academic output, the project engages in public activities to help optimizing circular processes in Switzerland and beyond.


Funded: Swiss National Science Foundation PRIMA (Grant Nr. 201585)
Duration: 1.1.2022-31.12.2026


Core team

  • Madlen Kobi
  • Elena Sischarenco
  • Vanessa Feri