Aaron Betksy on the merits of reuse as defined in a new book by Daniel Stockhammer.
By Aaron Betsky
Out of Liechtenstein, that tiny principality wedged between Austria and Switzerland, comes one of the most rousing clarion calls for upcycling I have read. Upcycling, let us be clear, is not recycling. The former term, which, if we can believe Wikipedia, first appeared in 1994, refers to adding value through reuse, rather than finding residual value in used or leftover materials. It is a process that is by now well-established in music (recycled riffs), fashion (Virgil Abloh selling salvaged Polo shirts), and industrial design (the Campana Brothers making furniture out of rags or toys). It is not, however, that well-known in architecture.
Enter Daniel Stockhammer, an assistant professor at the Institute of Architecture and Planning at the University of Liechtenstein who heads the design studio Upcycling with Cornelia Faisst. In his new book, Upcycling: Reuse and Repurposing as a Design Principle in Architecture (Triest Verlag, 2020), Stockhammer makes the following argument:
“The preservation and qualitative reuse and repurposing of existing building stock means: –architectural relevance is gained through complexity and multiplicity of meaning (instead of through form) –Identity, longevity, and historical and social continuity are bolstered –Knowledge of building culture and construction is secured – The simplicity, durability, and sustainability of building construction, building materials, and technology are challenged and promoted. The exploration of reuse and upcycling perceives buildings as once again being part of processes of social change. For the designers of our built environment, treating architecture as project (and the intellectual property) of many generations entails a transformation from creator to contributor. It means rethinking traditional certainties (and single-layered ideas) of modern building and preservation of architecture and it means posing new questions: –How do we conceive designs if indeterminacy becomes an essential component of architecture? –Which design approaches and tools are suitable for dealing with irregularities, incompleteness, and deficiencies? –How can design processes themselves become a central objective of design disciplines and what roles should architects play? –What structures and materials are suitable for keeping the processes open to enable that future buildings and construction waste can (again) be reused and repurposed?”
Read on >>>> Source: The Case for Upcycling in Architecture | Architect Magazine