Towards an architecture of reuse

Vodka Pavillion, Alexander Brodsky. © Yuri Palmin
Vodka Pavillion, Alexander Brodsky. © Yuri Palmin

Originally a small-scale approach based on common sense and resourcefulness, reuse is now becoming institutionalised and, ironically, it is taking an industrial turn.

Is reuse wishful thinking? Even though the building sector represents nearly 80% of waste in France, reuse is making its way into rhetoric, press releases and competition announcements. It adds a consensual, hypnotic, touch that washes mind and hands of the issue. Originally, it was a question of common sense. In the past, the stones of the Bastille, in Paris, were reused to build the Pont de la Concorde and Le Corbusier reused the remains of a chapel in Ronchamp to build his exuberant project on site. Agreed. Revived and updated “grey” energy was praised by architects Julien Choppin and Nicola Delon, during a brilliant exhibition- cum-demonstration called “Matière grise“ (grey matter), at the Pavillon de l’Arsenal in Paris, in 2015. Since then the initiative has hit home and carefully selected examples have acquired a following.

Read Jean-Philippe Hugron’s full article in AA 422, December 2017.

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