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Reuse: The Latest Architecture and News

Spacelab's Experimental Shelter is Energy Self-Sufficient and Designed for Disassembly

Courtesy of Spacelab
Courtesy of Spacelab

Italian architecture practice Spacelab designed an energy self-sufficient shelter for temporary use, a parametric project that can be built without foundations on any site, leaving no trace and no damage to the site at the end of its life cycle. Named Zero in reference to the lack of waste during construction or removal and its zero-emissions operation, the structure can be demounted and reassembled multiple times, tapping into issues of circular economy, impermanence and reuse.

Courtesy of SpacelabCourtesy of SpacelabCourtesy of SpacelabCourtesy of Spacelab+ 5

Why “Use Is the Best Form of Preservation”

This article was originally published on Common Edge.

"For more than a generation, federally funded historic tax credits (HTCs) have been instrumental in incentivizing developers to revive and reuse historic buildings and keep them economically viable, rather than replace them with shiny new objects. These credits create jobs, promote responsible development, and leverage billions in private investment to enable income-generating buildings". Read the interview between Justin R. Wolf and Meghan Elliott, founding principal of New History, a firm specializing in adaptive reuse.

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.

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

Low-Cost Design: Urban Installations and Pavilions Built with Recycled Pallets

Commonly used as storage support for products in supermarket stocks and fairs, pallets are versatile. After their primary function has been discarded, the reuse of pallets for other purposes is increasingly common, collaborating to the reduction of the amount of waste discarded, especially as raw material for the creation of furniture and decks. However, going beyond the commonly highlighted  DIY furniture tutorials on youtube, these structures are gaining ground as the main element in the construction of ephemeral architecture, such as small pavilions and urban installations. In fact, these small pieces can be stacked and united together in different ways and patterns.

Recycling Tires as Waterproofing Reduces Landfill Waste and Emissions

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In Mexico, 40 million used tires are thrown away each year and only 12% are recycled. Tires are a difficult waste product to address, due to the sheer volume produced as well as their durability and the components within tires that are bad for the environment. According to specialists, in Mexico about 5 million tires are recycled in organic products and in the cement industry. 

Architects Propose to Repurpose Decommissioned Industrial Tanks on Brooklyn’s Waterfront

Courtesy of STUDIO V Architecture and Ken Smith WorkshopCourtesy of STUDIO V Architecture and Ken Smith WorkshopCourtesy of STUDIO V Architecture and Ken Smith WorkshopCourtesy of STUDIO V Architecture and Ken Smith Workshop+ 27

In New York, activists and professionals have been working for many years to try to save 10 decommissioned tanks, from demolition by putting forward alternative usage of these structures. Partnering with STUDIO V, an architectural firm and landscape architects Ken Smith Workshop, they came up with an inventive proposal that reimagines these industrial relics as a 21st-century park, a novelty in the traditional definition and configuration of public spaces.

Upcycling Wood: Disused Materials Transformed Into Valuable And Useful Objects

The need to substantially reduce our impact on the planet must be translated into a significant change to our lifestyle and habits. One of these is to consume responsibly and consider that waste does not exist, but that all material can be transformed into something useful again following a circular ecological system.

In his book Upcycling Wood, Reutilización creativa de la madera, the architect and artist Bruno Sève writes and edits a non-exhaustive guide of the uses and possibilities of recovered wood, as a framework for responsible reuse; from small scale, such as furniture or artists' canvases, to medium scale, with its use in interiors and facades. This book seeks to raise awareness among professionals and citizens in general through analysis of the life cycle, examples of uses and finishing processes, leading to an ecological and responsible framework. The book is illustrated by numerous design and architecture teams who follow the guidelines of ecological design with reclaimed wood.

Hotel Lobby and Nishi Grand Stair Interior / March Studio. Image © John Gollings'San Cristóbal', by Bruno Sève. Image © Bruno Sève© UhuruRecycling Woodstore. Image © The Community wood recycling+ 20

Vincent Callebaut Imagines "Oceanscrapers" 3D Printed from Recycled Trash

Vincent Callebaut Architectures has envisioned a radical underwater colony for "climate change refugees" 3D printed from recycled materials taken from the ocean's floating garbage patches. This particular proposal of "oceanscrapers" is sited off the shore of Rio de Janeiro. It's aim is to provide a sustainable habitat with 10,000 housing units, office and work space, sea farms, gardens, community orchards and much more, while fostering marine life.

© Vincent Callebaut© Vincent Callebaut© Vincent Callebaut© Vincent Callebaut+ 30

Winners of "The Rust Belt" Contest Offer Ideas for a 107-Acre Former Factory Site

Across industrial North America, many small working class cities are faced with a plethora of abandoned property due to the downfall of the automotive industry. The prolific ruins of the largest abandoned factory in North America, Detroit's Packard Motor Plant, have served as an emblem for dozens of similar plants dotting the landscapes of cities across the continent. In 2010, shortly after the beginning of the global economic crisis, Chrysler closed a sprawling engine factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The factory has since been demolished and is now at the beginning of a five-year cleanup. Located adjacent to a densely populated suburban development, the 107-acre property begs the question: what can be done with such a massive piece of land?

In response to Kenosha's Chrysler problem, a team of urbanists, architects and researchers known as Urban Design for Everyone (UD4U) launched a global competition to reinvigorate the former industrial property. Proposals had to take the adjacent neighborhoods into consideration, with the ultimate goal of bridging gaps between disparate communities at opposite ends of the property. The winning proposals range widely from a stylized village of housing, to the creation of enormous urban farms, to the construction of an innovation park featuring a series of vast artificial lakes. After receiving 43 entries from 17 countries, a jury of local architects selected three exceptional proposals and five honorable mentions. Find out what the teams proposed after the break.

Video: design/buildLAB's Reality Check

The design/buildLAB at the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design has recently released a new documentary by Leon Gerskovic titled Reality Check, a film that chronicles the journey of 16 students as they undergo the design and construction of their Masonic Amphitheatre in Clifton Forge, Virginia. The project was a complete redevelopment of a post-industrial brownfield into a public park and performance space; the video relates how students collaborated with local community and industry experts to bring meaningful architecture to this struggling American rail town.

Shigeru Ban's Cardboard Cathedral Underway in New Zealand

Courtesy of Christchurch City Libraries' Flickr
Courtesy of Christchurch City Libraries' Flickr

Shigeru Ban just can’t get enough of paper tubes. The Japanese architect, renowned for his design of structures that can be quickly and inexpensively erected in disaster zones, is at it again in the city of Christchurch, New Zealand, which was hit hard by a devastating earthquake last February. The earthquake of magnitude 6.3 killed over 200 people and inflicted irreparable damage on the city’s iconic gothic cathedral of 132 years. The cathedral was a copy of one in Oxford, England, and was one of the most famous landmarks of the Christchurch, pictured on postcards, souvenirs and tea towels.

A pioneer in so-called “emergency architecture,” Shigeru Ban has begun construction on a highly anticipated, unique replacement: a simple A-frame structure composed of paper tubes of equal length and 20 foot containers. The tubes will be coated with waterproof polyurethane and flame retardants that the architect has been developing since 1986 - years before environmental friendliness and the use of inexpensive recycled materials were even a concern in architecture.

Read more about Ban's visionary Cardboard Cathedral after the break...

Chicago's Cook County Aims to Eradicate Demolition Waste

Image via Cook County
Image via Cook County

Cook County, Illinois, recently brought the elimination of construction waste to a new level by creating the first demolition debris ordinance in the Midwest. This groundbreaking ordinance requires most of the debris created from demolition to be recycled and reused instead of being sent to the landfill. The ordinance helps contribute to Cook County’s zero waste goal, part of the Solid Waste Plan Update.

The new law states that at least 7 percent of suburban construction and demolition debris must be recycled, and an additional 5 percent must be reused on residential properties. This new legislation will have a great impact as it affects about 2.5 million suburban Cook County residents.

More after the break...