Design strategies for circularity: Km0 architecture in the Spanish Mediterranean

Article published in Open House International (ISSN 0168-2601). (authors: Débora Domingo Calabuig, Javier Rivera Linares, Laura Lizondo Sevilla, José Luis Alapont Ramón).

Open Access: Full text (English)
UPV repository:


City planning and construction have embraced circular economy principles, converting them into various indicators. Particularly in the European context, the question “what architecture for circularity?” is answered with policies focusing on techniques, materials and disassembling construction. This paper analyzes a new approach to sustainable design and explores the concept of Km0 architecture. The objective is to demonstrate the design strategies of a contemporary architecture based on local resources and knowledge, an architecture that works with the shortest possible loop in circularity, i.e. with the cycle that consumes the least amount of energy.
The paper presents two ways of understanding sustainability in architecture: the first as a result of policies and the second associated with the design and innovative-based New European Bauhaus initiative. Within the scope of this last understanding, the authors analyze three cases on the Spanish Mediterranean coast that have recently received media attention and prominence. The selection responds to a specific climate adaption through a certain typological and functional diversity of the works.
The studied cases exhibit a more equitable and cost-effective circularity based on the time factor, have long life-cycle designs and serve as repositories of cultural identity. Km0 architecture reduces emissions using local resources and mitigates environmental conditions by combining traditional and modern design strategies.