Material Cycle For  Wooden Urban Furniture

Circular Design in the Built Environment

                    – Understanding buildings as material banks


How to design ?

Discovering tools and strategies for how you can implement a design for disassembly and deconstruction

A building Life Cycle

Project overview

The Goal : Intervention on the streets around Sagrada Familia to enable Pedestrians and Tourists to have a holistic experience during the visit.
The Objective : To design an adaptive and changing landscape with Urban “Stuff”, that allows variations, Adjustments and testing. The entire design process is based on Circular design techniques and mindful selection of materials and their lifecycle.

Streets around Sagrada Familia


Reference projects

Superilla – Sant Antoni

Sant Antoni street view


To create a Superilla grid which will –

1.Limit vehicular movement, resulting in increased pedestrian access.

2.Reprogram uses, reorders mobility and draws a new landscape without modifying the existing urbanization.

3.Organise the streets around Sagrada Familia for a better touristic experience and creates an opportunity for a dynamic neighbourhood.

                                                    Sant Antoni street plan


MQ Seating – Vienna

To design an Urban furniture module which is –

1.Easy to Assemble and Disassemble

2.Change configuration and create different spaces and seating types.

3.Fits into the Superilla grid


Process of Design for Disassembly

The Following are the steps taken for the design of Urban furniture –

1.Material research – To find materials which satisfy the circularity criteria. 5-6 year lifespan.

2.Finalise the material based on the criteria such as Carbon footprint, Durability, End of life, etc.

3.Design the furniture module w.r.t configuration possibilities.

4.Data on emissions and Carbon footprint at each stage of the material, from manufacture  – Re-use  – Dispose.

5.Assess the Material on birth to death criteria. Optimising the second life and end of life plan.


Forests of Europe

Much of Europe’s forests lie predominantly in the northern latitudes or on the periphery of the mountainous regions of central and southern Europe.

The most extracted softwood species in 2017 were: 3,62,106 m3 of radiata pine (Pinus radiata D. Don), 3,40,106 m3 of maritime pine (Pinus pinaster Ait.), 1,36,106 m3 of Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) and 0,55,106 m3 of Salzmann pine (Pinus nigra Arnold subsp. salzmannii (Dunal) Franco).




Pine wood timber

Spruce wood timber


Poplar plywood



Log preparation

The branches and bark are removed from the tree trunks.

Removing the bark leaves all the heartwood, and most of the sapwood.


Logs are stockpiled under water sprays to prevent them from splitting as they rapidly dry out.

The logs are then sawn into rectangular shapes.

Logs are fully saturated and the saws leave a rough surface on the wood, as some of the fibers are torn out rather than cut.


Timber manufacturing process



When a tree is felled, it contains a large proportion of water / moisture. Many felled trees have forty to fifty percent water content. Seasoning of natural wood, is the process through which excess water / moisture is removed, leaving typically fifteen to twenty percent water content.

Natural Seasoning

                                        By water                                                                                                                By Air

Artificial Seasoning


Electrical seasoning                                                 Chemical seasoning                                                            Kiln seasoning


At the sawmill, the logs are cut into ‘boards’ using equipment such as circular saws and bandsaws.

This is called ‘conversion’. The first stage of conversion is a process called ‘breaking down’, which means rough sawing.

The second stage is called ‘resawing’ and refers to more accurate / precise cutting and finishing, such as planning and further machining.

1) usually pine 2) usually spruce JH = usually done by splitting afterwards, whereby the width is 2 mm less that the nominal size x =standard size o = rarely produced size

Spruce / Properties

-popular for the furniture industry, papermaking, packaging and construction.

-The wood is soft, low in weight and has medium density

-has a small resinous, high resistance to cracking

-warm and light wood tones.

-great resistance to moisture.

-Painting, coating and staining does not cause problems.


Pine / Properties

– medium weight

– relatively soft

– strength elasticity are good

– heartwood has good natural durability except where it is in direct contact with earth or moisture

– It has a high natural moisture content

– The coloring only affects the appearance, not the physical properties of the wood.

Comparison between Spruce and Pine


Dry board raw density average –

Spruce – 420 kg/m3

Pine – 480 kg/m3


Decorative and constructive purposes.

Strength-graded timber may be used for load-bearing building elements, e.g., in structural engineering, both as individual element or as lamella in a glued element, such as e.g. glue-laminated timber, plywood, or finger-jointed solid structural timber.


The production takes place therefore in the following

partial steps:

  1. Log sorting
  2. Debarking
  3. Machining, profiling, sawing,
  4. Timber
  5. Marketization

Environmental and Health during use :

No risk of water, air or ground contamination.

No health hazards or effects.

Extraordinary effects :


Building material class B2 “normally flammable” according to DIN 4102-4

Fire class D-s2, d0 according to DIN EN 14081-1 Fire protection Name Value

Building material class D

Burning droplets d0

Smoke gas development s2


No hazardous water contaminants are washed out.

EGGER timber is not resistant to permanent exposure to water (standing water).

Re-use phase

In case of renovation or demolition, EGGER timber can be selectively removed and used for the same application or a different one.

Given the high calorific value of about 16 MJ / kg, energy utilization in approved plants for the generation of process energy and electricity as part of cascading use is reasonable.


Resulting material waste as well as those from demolition activities are to be reused primarily as material. If this is not possible, they must be channeled into energy recovery. Disposal is not permitted. The waste code according to the European Waste Catalogue is EAK 17 02 01.


Accoya wood is a high performance wood designed for outdoor use and challenging applications.

Tree – Pinus Radiata

Cradle to Cradle

Material health – Platinum

Overall certification – Gold

End of life


Compostable (100%)

Recyclable (100%)

Lifespan of Pine and Spruce

Engineered timber



-Easy to install

-Resistance to creep

-High resistance to impacts

-High resistance to weathering

-Doesn’t swell in humidity


Plywood variants

-Hardwood plywood

-Softwood plywood

-Marine plywood

-Medium Density Overlay (MDO)

-Baltic Birch plywood

-Tropical plywood

-Pressure treated plywood

Glue types

Urea formaldehyde : Plastic resin glue, Hardwood plywood bonding, Reliable, Moisture resistant, Can be toxic in interiors

Polyvinyl acetate : Water and high-temperature resistant, Edge jointing and veneering

Melamine formaldehyde : Hard, thermostatic plastic, Waterproofing (on top of urea formaldehyde), Decorative purposes

Phenol-formaldehyde : Weather resistant, Exterior applications, Not as good as urea formaldehyde for plywood & particleboards

Resorcinol-formaldehyde : Similar to phenol-formaldehyde, More expensive

PureGlue : Non-toxic, Formaldehyde- free, Resin + soy flour

Exterior plywood finishes


Acrylic latex paints: flexible, resistant to cracking

Water repelling coats:

     Polyurethane varnish

     Water-based stains

     Water sealer: doesn’t block all the pores

Plywood production in Catalonia

-Wood panels production has been on the rise

-Expansion of production facilities

-Main uses: furniture, doors, construction & flooring


Plywood product // EPD: Poplar plywood



EPD: Poplar plywood

-Thickness 20mm

-9 layers

-400 m2 glue per m3

Amount of sequestered CO2:

522.7 kg CO2-Eq. / m3

Total plywood volume:

26.4 m3


13,800 kg CO2-Eq. / m3

Producers & Distributors







Connection strategies



Plywood end of life options

-Reuse in projects (eg furniture making) > secondary market

-Crushed and transformed into particle board

-Incineration for energy production


Deconstruction plan


Wood after usage

Possible damage areas



-Lack of local EPDs


-Lack of advanced secondary material market


-Increased local wood panel production

-Lack of local EPDs

-Lack of advanced secondary material market


Material Cycle For  Wooden Urban Furniture is a  project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in Advanced Architecture by Ashwin Parandhaman, Rana Ibrahim, Prarthana Sudhindra, Christos Trompoukis