BNA Academy

Masterclass in Circular Design & Construction

The background

Architects play a crucial role in attaining a circular construction sector. The Association of Dutch Architects (Branchevereniging Nederlandse Architecten, BNA, in Dutch) wants to give architects the tools they need to put circularity into practice. In partnership with the BNA Academy, Copper8 organizes the mastertrack ‘Circular Design and Construction’, which teaches the participants the most important themes around circular construction in five modules.


As an industry association, the BNA feels a great responsibility in the transition to the circular economy. According to the BNA, circular construction is above all a means of creating added value. Sustainability concerns people, and without people, architecture would not exist. In the ‘We Go Circular’ manifesto (in Dutch), the BNA provides five circular design principles that architects can apply now. This gets architects started on the right path, but it’s not enough to create a fully circular construction sector. That’s why Copper8 and the BNA Academy joined forces for the ‘Circular Design and Building’ course.

The question

Support us with the design of the content for the mastertrack ‘Circular Design and Construction’. Ensure there’s a thread running through the five modules and guarantee the content of external speakers’ contributions. Moderate the sessions and include creative approaches.

Current situation and future

The mastertrack must appeal to a broad group of architects, from small to large architectural firms, and it must be interesting and inspiring for architects regardless of their previous knowledge of circularity. There should be a good balance between theoretical content and inspiring circular examples. Finally, circular construction must be treated in the broadest sense of the word, enabling architects to determine their circular vision and put it into practice.

The process

In a five-part series, participants are taken through in the most important themes around circularity. With contributions from speakers including Paul de Ruiter, Menno Rubbens and Daan Bruggink, participants are inspired and informed, so they are able to produce circular designs themselves. They apply the knowledge they have gained directly in three realistic case studies. In this way they immediately encounter the (practical) challenges that circularity brings. The mastertrack is divided into five modules:

  1. What is circular design and construction?
  2. Circular design from past to present
  3. Circular design from now to the future
  4. Circular business (models) & organization
  5. The practical feasibility of circularity

The results

A successful mastertrack, in which 30 architects have gained the tools to bring circularity out in their projects. Participants have said that they immediately saw opportunities in their current projects as a result of the training and, more importantly, they want to make circularity more prominent in new projects. Notably, the owner of one of the case studies has entered into a partnership with one of the participants. You can find an impression of the mastertrack here (in Dutch). For us, the biggest compliment is that we will be organizing the mastertrack again in 2019.

“Copper8 has helped us to sharpen the issue of circularity and to approach it as an integral part of what we do. In this project, the team has also fulfilled their principle of making as much of an impact as possible. The practical knowledge and experience they bring has been very valuable to our members and to us as a trade association. Copper8 consistently went above and beyond, making the results we were looking for more than a reality.” Mark Oldengarm Network Coordinator

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