Do you feel overwhelmed by the Climate & Ecological Emergency? We do. However, if you look hard enough you can find amazing low carbon, environmentally friendly, inclusive and inspiring work being done by brilliant architects and designers from around the world. Next week sees the start of our much anticipated School of Reconstruction, a digital summer school which will bring together twenty five architects and designers and over eighty students from across the world.
The two week summer school (founded by Duncan Baker Brown our Climate Literacy Champion) is associated with a 4-year long EU funded Interreg research project known as FCRBE which stands for ‘Facilitating the circulation of reclaimed building elements’, this project focusses on the discipline of building de-construction (as opposed to demolition) and crucially the re-use of de-constructed building components into building projects.
So why is this issue so important in contemporary design & architecture? Well the built environment is responsible for consuming 50% of all raw materials mined and harvested annually, as well as creating over 45% of all CO2 emissions worldwide, and in the UK generating over 60% of all waste going to landfill and incineration – that’s 120 million tonnes of useful resources thrown away! Therefore, if we can find ways to dramatically reduce the amount of stuff the built environment consumes then we (humans) can go some way towards reducing our negative impact of our beautiful host planet.
For two weeks the our School of Re-Construction will focus on considering both the challenges and the opportunities the de-construction of buildings, or elements of buildings, and crucially the re-use of these in the construction sector, present us as designers, constructors and architects. Imagining a world of radical low carbon design and architecture; a world where designing beautiful considered low carbon environments involves the careful de-construction of buildings (due for demolition) for re-use, where waste flows are identified as valuable resources and the circular economy prevails.
Our students will be divided into eleven teams who will then have two weeks to respond to the brilliant briefs set by our team leaders. To give you an idea of the themes our students will be pursuing our teams have thought-provoking names such as RAW, USELESS, BYPRODUCT, HYBRID, and OFFCUT .
To compliment the summer school we have a packed couple of weeks of keynote speakers and lunchtime debates. With the construction sector responsible for so much of the UK’s annual waste (120 million tonnes of stuff thrown away) and the consumption of over 50% of all raw materials harvested and mined around the world, understanding ways to re-use instead of throwing away; to appreciate the often over-looked, will go a long way to relieving our host planet of the burden of supplying our insatiable appetite for new resources. Our speakers will inspire and uplift you and help create a positive environment during what has been a challenging 18 months or so for the whole of humankind.
So please take a look at our speaker programme on our School of Re-Construction website (link below) and sign up of one or more of the free sessions over the next two weeks. We have presentations from Rotor DC of Brussels, Metabolic and Maurer United from the Netherlands, SuperUse, Flores I Prats Architects from Spain and many others.
We look forward to seeing you there.