CCIB Barcelona, 14 - 15 February 2018

Features 2017

Matière Grise by Pavillon de l’Arsenal

GREY MATTER, Materials, Reuse, Architecture. Considering the considerable paucity of materials and the “Métropole Zéro Déchet” (Zero Waste Metropolis) ambition, architects Julien Choppin and Nicola Delon from the Encore Heureux architectural design agency explore the issue of the reuse of building materials at a pivotal point in time, when architecture is aspiring to reinvent itself, caught as it is between environmental and economic constraints and the need to find new uses for used materials. Using more “grey matter” so as to use fewer “raw materials”: one of the rallying cries of this exhibition, which calls on collective intelligence to reconsider our use of materials in architectural engineering. The aim is to arrive at a round-up of the crisis in the availability of materials. The event will showcase over 75 projects selected from across the world, which were built, in full or in part, with reclaimed building materials.

14 essays, 13 interviews and 75 projects combine to show the potential of the recovery and reuse of materials and the possibilities for giving reclaimed materials (in all construction trades) a new lease of life. In Brussels, second-hand bricks are used to build modern-day suburban homes; in Massachusetts, the gantries of a motorway viaduct are used to build a villa; in Saint-Denis, the rejected cladding for a shopping centre is now seen to envelop the prestigious National Academy of Contemporary Circus Arts; in Madrid, yesteryear’s tiles are now partitioning and transforming an avant-garde cultural venue; in Bali, hundreds of clerestory windows are embellishing a hotel; in Alabama, the Lucy House is decked with 72,000 carpet tiles; even the facade of the future seat of the European Council in Brussels is made up of 3,000 reclaimed windows…

Grey matter trains the spotlight on the world of construction and construction engineering as a hot news item that is likely to drive forward the field of architecture, places the architect at the heart of the materials cycle again, whilst looking at all construction trades in the process: engineers, technical inspectors, industrial businesses, insurers, building firms, as well private and public clients alike. What if the world of construction first looked at reusing materials to give them a new lease of life?

Paris Centre for Architecture and Urbanism (Centre d'information, de documentation et d'exposition d'Urbanisme et d'Architecture de Paris et de la métropole parisienne)


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