Materials, innovation and sustainability at Time Space Existence
Contemporary architecture is facing a fundamental challenge: finding sustainable solutions for the future of our planet. In this context, the use of green and reused materials are emerging as promising responses. These new and innovative solutions, derived from renewable sources or from recycled materials, offer ecological advantages without compromising the quality and aesthetics of architecture.
The biennial exhibition Time Space Existence aims to investigate the field of eco-friendly urban environments through different points of view, creating a dialogue between different approaches and practices.
The Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen University is presenting in Palazzo Bembo four projects exploring the reuse of materials. Keeping in mind that the construction industry is one of the world’s most resource-intensive industrial sectors, the reuse of resources has become an imperative in rethinking how we design and construct nowadays.
The students of the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering have worked on use.less and drop.less to find solutions for construction and demolition waste. Both projects combine sustainability with aesthetics, fundamental aspects to look at when trying to encourage a larger use of these materials. Drop.less specifically utilises building rubble for the creation of panel elements. The rubble is sorted and crushed and combined with self-compacting concrete to form rubble units. Each demolition yields a distinct composition of remains, determining the design and aesthetic of panels by chance.
Made of reused wood are waste.less and stand.less. The first one presents a building design that functions as an information point. The design utilises leftover wood pieces to form a basic module that can be freely combined creating a wide range of shapes and volumes. Whereas the second one was born from surplus cross-laminated timber and steel volumes used in laboratory experiments, repurposing the materials. The size of the modules lends itself perfectly to creating seatings for the campus.
Marie Aigner’s installation at Palazzo Bembo also focuses on waste materials that are generated during manufacturing processes. Starting from the concept “make waste wanderful”, the Knock Out Collection is a colourful assemble of design pieces made of recycled PET and melamine resin foam. The furniture and design objects she creates are highly effective as sound absorbers, manufactured in small series, depending on the availability of material waste.
The designer crafts a unique and radical design language by altering and distorting products, experimenting with various materials, which must be reusable, recyclable, and manufactured in accordance with proper sustainability guidelines.
For several years ETH Zurich and Supsi have been focusing on the similar challenge of material waste and in specific of stone waste from quarries in Switzerland. To counteract this problem they have developed Geopolymer Binder Jetting (GeoBJT), a 3D printer that produces customizable architectural elements from waste using up to 80% of recycled aggregates. This novel printing setup is located on-site, becoming a transportable micro-factory that can be operated even in remote locations. This fabrication system results therefore to be cost-effective and promoter of local resources.
For Time Space Existence they exhibit at Palazzo Mora a funicular vaulted floor created with by-product material derived from stone extraction activities from a granite quarry in Ticino, where the rock flour can reach 40% of the total production. The geometry of the structure is designed in order to keep all the elements in compression under the action of the external loads. In this way, the compression-dominant material can be placed only where it is most efficient, thus drastically reducing the amount of material and allowing the use of weaker but more sustainable materials.
Working on the holistic development of design strategies, fabrication methods and material research, the project represents a milestone towards the decentralised production of customised parts for structural assemblies, and it aims to inspire and support innovative applications for the circular use of resources in the construction sector.
Designers Urban Radicals together with material researchers Local Works Studio and design engineers AKT II continue the investigation of material waste and reuse with A brick for Venice. Exploring the practical repercussions of climate change in Venice, the collaboration brought to life a brick element produced using sediments and other waste by-products from the surrounding industrial areas which are periodically collected dragging the canals to prevent floods.
The pavilion built by Urban Radicals at Marinaressa Gardens manifests the potential of using local waste to create a low-carbon brick, certified for construction. This is of particular importance in a time of climate emergency and provides a vision for forming closed-loop systems in our built environment and cities. To tackle the problem of Venice means finding solutions to worldwide issues on ecology and climate change.
The path towards a net zero future demands designers to re-focus on the importance of material selection, reuse, longevity and locality. Exploring craft through a different lens are Takaaki Fuji, Hiroya Inage and De Yuan Kang presenting [#001] VENETI-AN (庵). The installation at Marinaressa Gardens is a Tea House prototype that aims to explore regenerative design in relation to the Venetian environment and incite a discussion on the dichotomy between the application of resource-friendly, systematic building solutions, and the creation of distinct, site-specific representations.
Materiality is the crux of the circular system. For this project the search for building materials that are regenerative and also representative of locality, led them to experiment with (bio)waste local materials such as pasta, cotton, cork, coffee and paper. Additionally VENETI-AN (庵) is created with a modular design that facilitates its construction and replacement of specific elements.
In the sixth edition of Time Space Existence, many participants showcase projects that illustrate research and innovation in the field of sustainable and ecological construction methods and materials. The exhibition explores the latest trends in the architecture and design sectors, highlighting how the adoption of eco-friendly solutions can help reduce environmental impact and promote more sustainable designs.
Explore the connections between materials, innovation and sustainability at Palazzo Mora, Palazzo Bembo, and Marinaressa Gardens until the 26th of November. Discover more about each participant checking out their profiles online.