Repurposing the past: unpacking material properties

Thematic session at ICSA2025, Antwerp

repurposing timber [Circularium, Brussels]

In July 2025, the 6th International Conference on Structures and Architecture takes place in Antwerp, Belgium. Chaired by professor Mario Rinke (University of Antwerp, Belgium) and professor Marie Frier Hvejsel (Aarhus School of Architecture, Denmark), the conference calls for a re-imagination of current practices regarding structures and architecture. The title of the conference “REstructure REmaterialize REthink Reuse” underscores the aim to reassess the design and construction of our built environment with new settings and tools, in response to the pressing global climate and energy crisis.

As part of this international conference, Stephanie Van de Voorde, Lara Reyniers and Ruben Van Vooren teamed up to organise a special session, entitled “Repurposing the past: unpacking material properties”. The session aims to explore how (intrinsic) characteristics of building components are reimagined when they undergo reuse. We invite papers that unravel the intricate balance between the inherent and historically ingrained features of reclaimed items (e.g., cultural, technical and economic properties), as well as the essential adaptations and transformations required to repurpose them for novel uses. Contributions may encompass theoretical contemplations and practical illustrations of reuse practices, with a temporal focus extending from the mid-20th century to the present day. Potential topics of interest include an examination of the key stakeholders actively engaged in the reuse process, an analysis of the transformations undertaken to tailor materials and components for new applications, and an exploration of the knowledge, expertise, and infrastructure intrinsic to these processes. These insights are crucial in advancing our understanding of sustainable practices, preserving cultural heritage, and optimizing resource utilization in an era where environmental considerations are of paramount importance to the future of architecture and construction.


Would you like to join this special session? Please submit an abstract before February 28 2024. Contributions must be submitted in English and must include:

  • the name of the author(s) and affiliation(s)
  • the title and the main body of your abstract (max. 500 words)
  • the topic of the session (select “SS-Repurposing the past” for this special session”)
  • up to five keywords

Please ensure that you cover all relevant aspects in the abstract: the main research goal/question, context/current state of the research, methods/sources and the expected contribution to the field.

All submissions are made through ConfTool ( You have to create an account in ConfTool, before you can submit your contribution.


  • Abstract Submission: 28 February 2024 (23:59 CET)
  • Preliminary Abstract Acceptance: 15 May 2024
  • Full Research Paper Submission: 30 October 2024
  • Full Research Paper Acceptance: 15 February 2025
  • Conference: 8-11 July 2025 


The Conference Proceedings will be published by CRC Press / Balkema (Taylor & Francis Group). The papers will be reviewed by at least two members of the conference’s scientific committee. Proceedings will be sent for indexation by both Thomson Reuters and Elsevier.


For more information about this special session, please contact, and . You can also have a look at the profile pages of Stephanie, Lara and Ruben to discover more about their research.

If you have any questions about the conference in general, please visit the conference website:

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