A thorough architectural response towards the growing problems of population, climate, and urban migration is currently on display at the Danish Architecture Centre in Copenhagen, in the form of the upcycled Wasteland exhibition. Curated by Danish architecture firm Lendager Group, the exhibits shown in Wasteland are filled with raw materials, processes, experiments and methods, backed up with a long list of shocking facts about our effects on planet Earth: over 2 million tons of CO2 have been emitted globally this year; over 3.3 billion tons of resources have been extracted from the earth globally this year; over 127 million tons of waste have been dumped globally this year—all totalling a cost of over $14 trillion USD resulting from our failure to act on climate change. These are the live statistics (as shown at the time of ArchDaily’s visit last Friday) which confront visitors in the first room of the exhibition space. They provide context for what is to follow.
After displaying these sobering (and rapidly increasing) numbers, the exhibition opens up into a long room, in which the most eye-catching features are the piles of what appears to be waste, lying on the floor. These piles are markers for the themes into which Wasteland is split: cement, plastic, metal, glass, wood and brick. Denmark alone produces 11.74 million tons of waste per annum, of which 4.1 million tons come from construction. So the premise behind Lendager Group’s Wasteland could not be more relevant: “What if waste was perceived as the greatest untapped resource and played a crucial role in the development of new buildings?” Waste has become the main local resource within cities.
Paired with each material category is a building project by Lendager Group; proof of the functional and aesthetic qualities that can arise from properly processing and reinventing “waste” materials. Examples include Upcycle House in Nyborg, Denmark, built entirely out of recycled materials. Their upcycling solutions range from turning champagne corks into surprisingly refined floors, compressing newspapers into facade boards, and reusing windows from a school in Copenhagen. All of these material components lay on a table in front of the pile of cement in a range of different forms: raw, in a variety of processed forms, and in their final forms as used in Upcycle House. And, unlike your typical exhibition space, nearly everything in Wasteland is free to touch, hold, stroke, smell and satisfy your senses.
This format allows for much more than just an intake of facts and images; it engages the visitors with the process of transformation that is essential for Lendager Group’s building methods. Understanding the practical implications of the architecture firm’s thought process is not only beneficial in comprehending their building projects, but also enables the knowledge developed through Lendager Group’s architecture to be shared with visitors in order to be analyzed, evaluated and developed further. The exhibition is clearly intended to grow the web of awareness and plant new ideas into the minds of everyone who walks through Wasteland—because if just 1,200 more versions of Upcycle House were built instead of the standard “benchmark house,” 6,700 tons of CO2 could be prevented from being released into our atmosphere.
Following the concrete display are more material samples in their respective material categories, as well as full sized mock-ups including a plastic acoustic ceiling made from PET, commonly used for plastic bottles, that mimics the texture of ordinary felt. For every 1 kilogram of plastic that is reused, our atmosphere is spared 1.5 kilograms of CO2. Separating sections of the exhibition room are recycled windows, replicating the double-layered facade of Upcycle Studios, a series of buildings that include homes and workshops under the same roof to accommodate for our increasingly flexible lifestyles. It is currently being built in Ørestad, Denmark.
Finishing off the Wasteland exhibition is a long table piled with 3D-printed reliefs, rubber molds, and miniature cast facades for one of Lendager Group’s models, perfectly exhibiting the Danish firm’s excitement for, and desire to share, any processes they find interesting and educational. Whether it is a concept for the physical relocation of old brick facades that follow their inhabitants from rural villages to big cities, or fascinating small details such as a 3D-printed mold, Wasteland is full of treasures waiting to be swept up by open-minded visitors. As one exits the final corner, one is met with the face of Anders Lendager, CEO of Lendager Group, painting a picture of the options we have, and the future that awaits us, if we make the right decisions. Lendager Group and Wasteland have sown some seeds; they just need support to help them grow.
FromJanuary 26, 2017 09:23 PM
UntilApril 17, 2017 09:23 PM
VenueDanish Architecture Centre