Joining Cards - Investigation of de-constructable fastening and joining techniques for the development of mono-material interior systems made of cardboard

Strategic examination of cardboard products and paper-based materials for the development of de-constructible interior systems and the definition of building components and their interfaces. The result forms the basis for further research projects in the form of a comprehensive knowledge gain.

Short Description

Starting point / motivation

Climate neutrality in the building sector, a sector that is globally responsible for approx. 36% of final energy consumption, for approx. 39% of energy-related CO2 emissions and for approx. 40% of resource consumption, requires holistic approaches.

In this respect, the Austrian Climate and Energy Strategy and the European "Green Deal" address the circular economy and thus the effective use of resources as a result of resilient buildings. Resilience is defined as the ability to adapt to different uses in the short and long term and relates to building components, building elements of different materiality, use and service life in terms of de-constructability, as well as the separation of joints.

With reference to current building practice, the heterogeneous use of materials and the currently applied joining methods in the area of non-load-bearing interior finishing and the associated common dry construction systems lead to problems with reuse and recycling, resulting in costly construction processes and a waste of resources.

In the context of these issues, paperboard products and paper-based materials offer a building material that is made from renewable or recycled fibres. Furthermore, it is a material that can be recycled and reproduced with little effort. Although its suitability for construction was proven many years ago by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban on the basis of demonstration buildings, as well as in international research projects, this material has so far been used mainly for temporary structures with a service life of only a few weeks up to – but very rarely – a few years, as well as in less important areas of application in terms of value.

Contents and goals

In order to solve these problems and to achieve a broad usage of cardboard and paper-based materials in interior finishing, this project proposes standardized interior finishing systems that are close to the building practice and accessible to the end user.

The research gap addressed by the present investigation is the manner and resultant methodology of joining cardboard components and the constructive design of interfaces in the interior finishing system, as well as to adjacent components. In addition, cooperation for further development is sought through the involvement of selected companies and scientific partners.

The object of investigation is formed by cardboard products and paper-based materials available on the market and published in the scientific community, as well as by common interior finishing systems (wall systems, ceiling systems and floor systems in combination with insulation and technical building equipment) and joining techniques (cf. exploratory study "Klett-TGA").

The aim of the project is to gain comprehensive knowledge of the joining of cardboard components, to develop concepts for standardized and de-constructible interior systems (joining technology, design, construction processes), to build investigation models and to conclude declarations of intent for cooperation in the context of further projects.


The project aims at the broadest possible investigation in this field, and treats cardboard products, paper-based materials, as well as joining techniques or interior finishing systems, holistically for analysis purposes. The implementation of the project is based on a systematic sequence of work steps, including research and analysis for the development of concepts for "non-load-bearing" interior systems.

The examination of selected concepts based on physical "one-to-one" investigation models, as well as the exchange with potential partners from the economy and science, encloses the holistic procedure of this exploratory project.

Expected results

The desired result is a comprehensive gain in knowledge and the identification of potentials in the context of the project objective and the object of investigation, as well as new or strengthened contacts to business and science for a continuation of the project idea.

Project Partners

Project management

Institute of Architecture Technology, Graz University of Technology

Contact Address

Institute of Architecture Technology
Graz University of Technology
Univ.-Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Architekt Roger RIEWE
Rechbauerstr. 12/I
A-8010 Graz
Tel.: +43 (316) 873 6300