Reusing existing knowledge and materials is integral in order to promote a sustainable future for architecture. My thesis concerns reuse, and designing for disassembly in order to facilitate this.
I am defining reuse in two ways. The first is the physical reuse of existing components. This is not a new concept, but it is something that must be made more available in order to be readily accessible within new designs. By creating a framework for the circular economy and reuse of materials within one area, this allows for a similar structure to be set up elsewhere. This should include a place for salvaged materials to be stored in between disassembly and reuse, as well as each new building’s design being well documented and detailed in order to facilitate future disassembly if the building is ever to be taken apart.
The second definition of reuse, is the sentimental reuse of a place and it’s memory. By recycling the materials within the same area and detailing where they came from and where they go, you preserve a place’s history within the reuse. By creating more localised hubs for reuse, you preserve the material memories of a place whilst still revitalising and building on what is already there. The current culture of demolition without any effort to preserve the materials through salvaging or documenting them, is not only wasting resources but also wasting the chance to learn from what has already been done. Frameworks should be put in place to aid the preservation of reuse on a local scale.
My project compromises of three sites all within walking distance of the other in the University district of Antwerp. They are all gaps sites; there were many gap sites in the area and all of them left behind footprints of what was previously there, which parallels the idea of preserving an area’s memories through it’s materials reuse.
The three sites will also work together showing how the materials from one building can be reused within another for a different design and function. Two sites will work as case study A and case study B. The materials from A will be designed and detailed in a way that can facilitate the reuse within B, whilst still providing a unique design for a different programme. The third site will act as a Material Library; this will be the in between point where the reclaimed materials can be stored before reuse, as well as displayed to showcase and preserve the components of an area.
In summary the three sites should show how reuse can be facilitated within a local scale, in order to preserve the history of an area whilst also aiding to it’s growth.
Please not, the thesis is ongoing and will be updated as it develops.