Finding Perfection in Imperfection

A Case Study of Adding Value by Design in Circular Economy

  • Ahmed K. Ali Texas A&M University
  • Patricia Kio Texas A&M University


The United States’ manufacturing industry generates approximately 7.6 billion tons of nonhazardous solid waste each year, a significant portion of which is either recyclable or reusable. Emerging ecosystem concepts such as cradle-to-cradle, design for disassembly, sustainable manufacturing, and most recently circular economy, are promoting the reusing or recycling of non-hazardous industrial waste. Empirical evidence suggests that there are significant economic, environmental, and social benefits to reusing industrial waste rather than recycling it. This paper presents, discusses and synthesis five speculative case studies in designing exterior building skins using standard automobile stamping by-products. The goal of the design experiment was to transform the linear approach in making building components, particularly, exterior metal skins and cladding systems, to a closed-loop approach, which ensures multi-dimensional economic, social, and environmental benefits. The results of the study are expected to aid in the reduction of energy used for extracting new materials and change the focus of the current waste management practices in the manufacturing industry from conventional recycling to creative reuse. The imperfection of the manufacturing industrial waste despite optimization measures, and the aging of zinc (patina) can both be transformed into novel unconventional architectural products.

How to Cite
Ali, A., & Kio, P. (2018). Finding Perfection in Imperfection. ARCC Conference Repository.