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Circular building design

Circular building materials

Green buildings


The Circular Narrative of Lisbjerg Recycling Station

26. February 2024

Solution provider


Schønherr is an architectural firm whose primary areas of expertise lie within urban and landscape architecture, strategic and physical planning, infrastructure, climate architecture, and cultural heritage. The firm's approach is that the cultural and natural values ​​of the city and landscape are tools for addressing the major societal challenges of our time.

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To mitigate the environmental impact of consumption-related CO2 emissions, the adoption of a circular mindset becomes imperative. By reimagining waste as a valuable resource, the recycling station project challenges conventional perceptions and contributes to a more sustainable approach. Its crucial to address the overarching challenges posed by waste management and to emphasize the need for innovative solutions that prioritize resource efficiency, minimize environmental footprint, and foster a circular economy.

A careful consideration of the user experience can nudge the circular mindset and thus help scale up recycling in both households and whole sectors.

The scopes

Facility size: 12,500 m2

Additional recreational area: 75,000 m2


Our approach to industrial facilities is rooted in function and narrative. A strong narrative can reinforce important design choices and is more easily communicated to the public during the process. At Lisbjerg Recycling Station, both shape and materials are selected to convey the message of natural movement and material flows. All coming together in a circular narrative.

Here, we worked to construct the facility as a sculpture in the landscape, providing destination value and recreational opportunities for visitors, employees, and users alike. The recycling station is constructed from recycled materials, thereby demonstrating that what we traditionally perceive as waste can, indeed, be a resource.

The team

Client: Kredsløb
Responsible consultant: Schønherr
Sub-consultant: LOOP Architects
Client advisor: Sweco
Consulting engineer: Artelia
Contractor: Danjord

Masterplan of the site


The facility is introduced through a geometrically clear and beautiful concrete wall, replacing the traditional wire fence, achieving a more sculptural presence. The space and the building are designed to appear as one cohesive structure in expression, materials, and detailing. The “base” of the space is made of cast concrete, complemented by cladding of recycled wood with an informal tactility. The circular geometry also provides short distances, good visibility, and establishes a clear center and optimal wayfinding. The site layout of the recycling station ensures a secure and logically organized user experience without compromising efficient and safe operations. The circular layout allows for complete separation of customer traffic from operational traffic, providing a safe environment for both customers and staff.

The recycling station is estimated to handle a capacity of 284,000 visitors by 2030.

The awards

Municipality of Aarhus Architecture Award 2022

Danish Concrete Innovation Award 2023, nominee