One man’s trash, another man’s treasure

Hey there,

It’s been a while since I’ve decided that, seeing as my university days are over, the focus of this little blog will shift from the storytelling of my projects to the storytelling of my ‘architectural life’.

Therefore, I’m going to start this series off with an article about ‘sustainability in the north’. This idea came to mind after seeing the ‘ wasteland ‘ exhibition by Lendager Group at the Danish Architecture Association.

Often, when you hear about sustainable architecture, your mind instantly places you in an unwelcoming environment, that focuses on energy efficiency and funny looking recycled water. Inevitably, society conflated sustainability with systems integration, on site renewables, and energy metrics. Nordic architects however, have a more socially driven view on the matter.

Up here, we do things in a conscious and responsible manner [yeah, imma say ‘we’ cos I’m a Copenhagen based architect now, with a business card and everything . . . what do you know, dreams do come true]. Therefore, passive strategies are placed at the top of the priorities list. Nonetheless, human interaction, local sourcing of materials, awareness towards site specific features guarantee the success of a building, and implicitly that of Nordic architecture.

The practice that has put together the exhibition I’ve mentioned previously takes this initiative a step further. What if each one of us can actually be these ‘local resources’ for building material?

Well, come to think of it, we can be our own mini construction material factories. Lendager Group shows how upcycling can effect the way we build and the way we treat our goods [especially those goods that turned bad]. Floors made out of old car tires, insulation made out of reused plastic from pet bottles, and walls made out of scrap wood. This initiative challenged society’s attitude towards waste, and acts as an open invitation to explore a future where waste will play a crucial role in the way we live, work and consume [hope Lendager ar DAC don’t mind me paraphrasing their words here].

Take drinking . . . Who doesn’t love a bottle of nice wine on a lazy weekend afternoon? All of us do. So what if we use those cork caps for something else then throwing them at the person sitting next to you? The exhibition showcases a floor system made entirely out of these [ uh, they must have had a looot of fun setting this up . . . research purposes only ].


However, when talking about upcycling, the material does not necessarily have to be reused in its plain form. It can also form the basis for a new and improved material. Take concrete for example, it can be made even stronger when mixing the new concrete with the old product. But I am sure you can come up with a couple of ways in which to use even the raw format . . .

concrete blog.jpg

However, I think the most interesting initiative is the plastic bottle sound insulation. When I first heard about it, I was expecting to see plastic bottles, in their pure form, hanging on a wall [as I’ve seen this previously, in couple of similar initiatives]. But what I’ve seen here was much more beautiful. It wasn’t the bottles that they used for this type of sound insulation, but the plastic from them. This way they managed to combine form, function and sustainability in a quite aesthetically pleasing way. [I wonder if I would get in trouble for using their image, it’s so pretty though].

acoustic panel

I’ve found this exhibition extremely interesting. I hope you’ve done so too, through this short explanation about some of the sustainable principle Nordic architecture encases in it’s ever so heavy tool kit. If you, please take some time to make your way and see the exhibition at DAC, and also check out some more inspiring projects from Lendager Group.


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