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Recycled Materials: The Latest Architecture and News

Concrete Recycling Is Already a Reality

Cortesia de Sika
Cortesia de Sika

Much has been said about circularity in the construction industry. Inspired by nature, the circular economy works in a continuous process of production, resorption and recycling, self-managing and naturally regulating itself, where waste can turn into supplies for the production of new products. It is a very interesting concept, but it faces some practical difficulties in everyday life, whether in the demolition / disassembly process, or in the correct disposal of materials and waste; but mostly due to the lack of technologies available to recycle or give new use to construction materials. About 40% of all waste generated on Planet Earth comes from civil construction, and a good part of it could be recycled. Concrete is an especially important material because of its large carbon footprint in production, its ubiquity and massive use, and also because of the difficulty of recycling or reusing it.

The Architectural Association's EmTech and Hassel Design Pavilion Using Reclaimed Timber

© Studio NAARO
© Studio NAARO

In collaboration with architecture practice Hassell, Architectural Association's Association's Emergent Technologies and Design (EmTech) programme created a reclaimed wood pavilion, exploring the convergence of computational design, new construction technologies, and material reuse. Titled Re-Emerge, the project addresses the issue of limited material resources, exploring the architectural potential of material recycling in the context of generative design.

© Studio NAARO© Studio NAARO© Studio NAARO© Studio NAARO+ 8

Contemplation House / Virginia Kerridge Architect

© Dianna Snape© Michael Nicholson© Dianna Snape© Michael Nicholson+ 24

Escarpment House / Virginia Kerridge Architect

© Martin Mischkulnig© Martin Mischkulnig© Martin Mischkulnig© Martin Mischkulnig+ 22

Brogers Creek, Australia

The Japanese Pavilion at the 2021 Venice Biennale Addresses Mass Consumption and Reusability

For this year's edition of the Venice Biennale, the Japan Pavilion invites visitors to reflect on the movement of goods fuelling mass consumption and rethink sustainability and reuse in architecture. Titled Co-ownership of Action: Trajectories of Elements, the project curated by Kadowaki Kozo involves dismantling an old wooden Japanese house and transporting it to Venice to be reconstructed in a new configuration with the addition of modern materials. The exhibition exemplifies how old materials could be given an entirely new existence by putting the current movement of goods in the service of reuse rather than consumption.

Hong Kong Architects Convert Plastic Waste into Public Benches to Combat Pollution

The Shing Mun River in Sha Tin, a residential town in Hong Kong, has struggled with plastic waste pollution for years. Household waste that is not properly recycled will either end up in landfills or floating in the river. In 2018 almost 17 million plastic items, or 40,000 items daily, were found to be drained into the ocean via the Shing Mun River, mostly being food packaging, cutleries, and household plastic bottles. This quantity of plastic pollution in the river and surrounding environment could eventually jeopardize the natural ecosystem irreversibly.

Foster + Partners Transforms Historic Industrial Building into Offices for Acciona in Madrid, Spain

Foster + Partners is leading massive refurbishment works on a historic building in Madrid. The renovation project that will put in place an office building for Acciona, seeks to revitalize an abandoned old industrial building built in 1905, generating over 10,000 square-meters of new spaces.

Campus Park. Image Courtesy of Foster + PartnersView of office interior in existing remodelled power plant building. Image Courtesy of Foster + PartnersNew ground level building and landscaped courtyard. Image Courtesy of Foster + PartnersView of office interior in existing remodelled power plant building. Image Courtesy of Foster + Partners+ 6

Brazilian Houses: 10 Residences Using Recycled Materials

According to a survey by the Brazilian Association for Recycling of Construction and Demolition Waste (ABRECON), there has been an increase in the recycling of construction and demolition waste (C&D) in Brazil in recent years. According to the 2015 report, 21% of the total C&D was recycled in the country that year, while in 2013 the rate was 19%.

The outlook is promising but not yet ideal, and the growth of recycled C&D materials is still considered small. In Brazil, construction waste can represent between 50% and 70% of the total municipal solid waste. This means, we still need to advocate for a more common practice of material recycling and reuse in architecture, especially in Brazil.

Michelle House / Yuri Vasconcelos Arquitetura. Image: © Alexandre Santos LimaPacheco Leão AL Residence / Ateliê de Arquitetura. Image: © André NazarethHouse in Samambaia / Rodrigo Simão Arquitetura. Image: © André NazarethFlamboyant Residence / Perkins+Will. Image: © Nelson Kon+ 11

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: the Three R's Rule Applied to Architecture

As levels of pollutant emissions have increased over the years, awareness has also grown regarding actions that can be taken to minimize the damage caused to the planet. As a way to promote waste reduction or prevention, the 3 R's rule is created: reduce, reuse and recycle. These actions, together with sustainable consumption standards, have been promoted as a means to protect natural resources and minimize waste.

Sen Village Community Center / VTN Architects. Image: © Quang TranWaste Side Story Pavilion / Cloud-floor. Image: © Ketsiree WongwanThird Wave Kiosk / Tony Hobba Architects. Image: © Rory GardinerHouse in La Prosperina / Fabrica Nativa Arquitectura. Courtesy of Fabrica Nativa Arquitectura+ 15

Tiny House Made from Recycled Materials Begins Construction in Bali

Bali-based Stilt Studios has begun construction on a new prefabricated tiny house made out of recycled Tetra Pak cartons. The team has also launched a Kickstarter campaign to create awareness for the use of recycled materials. Designed to promote local, circular economies, the first prototype is now being built and sales of the tiny house will commence in October this year.

Courtesy of Stilt StudiosCourtesy of Stilt StudiosCourtesy of Stilt StudiosCourtesy of Stilt Studios+ 10

How to Make a Facade with Recycled Materials: 21 Notable Examples

Cortesía de MAPCortesía de Project.DWG + LOOS.FMCortesía de Wang Shu, Amateur Architecture Studio© Quang Tran+ 43

With the aim of supporting architects to become active agents of sustainable design, this week we present a selection of facades that incorporate different recycled materials. Beyond the typical uses of plastic and glass, in this article, you will find innovative materials such as mattress springs, ice cream containers, plastic chairs, and recycled waste from agricultural and industrial products. A look at 21 remarkable projects using recycled materials to create an attractive facade.

The Contemporary Remodelling of Traditional Materials in Chinese Vernacular Architecture

Constrained by a lack of transportation and resources, vernacular architecture has started adapting the distinct strategy of utilizing local materials. By analyzing projects which have successfully incorporated these features into their design, this article gives an overview of how traditional materials, such as tiles, metal, rocks, bamboo, wooden sticks, timber, rammed earth and bricks are being transformed through vernacular architecture in China.

Towards a Common Practice of Material Recycling

Making material recycling commonplace within the architectural field would require a top-down approach in adapting the industry’s processes and standards to create a suitable framework for the task. However, individual endeavours are bringing about change within the profession, pushing for a reconsideration of architecture’s relationship to waste. This article looks at some of the initiatives that are spearheading the transition towards a common practice of material recycling.

Upcycle House by Lendager Group is built using recycled materials. Image © Jesper RayHoliday Cabin by Lendager Group uses  using waste wood and upcycled bricks. Image © Rasmus Hjortshøj - COASTWasteland Exhibition. Image © Rasmus Hjortshøj - COASTThe construction of the UMAR unit. Image © Wojciech Zawarski+ 9

Recycling Tiles: 15 Examples of Repurposed Tiles in Walls, Facades, Flooring, and Furniture

Nave 8 B / Arturo Franco. Image © Carlos Fernández Piñar
Nave 8 B / Arturo Franco. Image © Carlos Fernández Piñar

The Beehive / Luigi Rosselli + Raffaello Rosselli. Image © Ben HoskingCafé KOI / Farming Architects. Image © Nguyen Thai ThachClay Roof House / DRTAN LM Architect. Image © H.Lin HoNave 8 B / Arturo Franco. Image © Carlos Fernández Piñar+ 17

Whether you're looking for an upgrade or to replace broken pieces for floors or walls, tiles are always an effective and readily available option for any project that you have in mind. With their relatively low production cost, tiles are rarely reused or recycled and, if they are, it's usually for their original function.

Giving Demolished Building Materials a New Life through Recycling

“Out with the old and in with the new,”....or so they say. In the United States, a cloud of dust and debris paired with a wrecking ball and bulldozer tends to represent signs of forward progress, innovation, economic activity, and the hope for a better future through architectural design.