EPISODE 2: WASTE
You may have heard the idiom “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” The difference between trash and treasure is dissolving quickly as we hurtle toward a mass extinction event. Now, more than ever before, it is our professional obligation to value all matter as much as possible.
The volume of construction and demolition debris headed for landfills continues to increase. Waste is not only polluting our planet in general, it also continues to risk the health of marginalized communities that suffer exponentially greater amounts of exposure.
Both creativity and vision are needed to move away from wasteful and exploitative production practices that don’t emphasize reuse. How can waste be valued as a resource for both design and production? Designing with circularity in mind involves new ways of sourcing materials, generating architectural narratives, and embracing new aesthetics. Leading designers have been on the quest to beautify waste as part of material circularity, and this requires re-examining systems of production, starting with the design process. From sourcing agricultural byproducts to urban mining or designing for deconstruction, what kinds of cultural and economic shifts in the built environment might normalize waste as a primary material?
Join us for an online discussion as part of Material Worlds, a new series that gathers experts and scholars to present fresh viewpoints on the sourcing of building materials, not only to envision the future but also to better understand the past and present of humanity’s impact on the nonhuman world.
Register in advance for the webinar.
Tara Gbolade is co-founder of Gbolade Design Studio and a RIBAJ Rising Star winner. Tara is an Architect and Passivhaus Designer, and as such sits on the steering group of Architects Declare: a network committed to addressing the climate and biodiversity emergency. Her expertise in sustainable design and planning policy saw her lead the Harlow & Gilston Garden Town Sustainability Strategy. Tara is a founding member of the Paradigm Network: a professional network championing Black and Asian representation in the built environment; and she advises local authorities on the quality of major planning applications in London through Design Review Panels.
Alison Mears is the Director of the Healthy Materials Lab, Mears leverages her knowledge and experience as a long-term academic leader and her practice-based experience as an architect to confront one of the more serious and often overlooked environmental challenges of our time: the health of the built environment. She is also co-Principal Investigator of the Healthy Affordable Materials Project (HAMP). The Project is a long-term coalition of four organizations who work together to remove harmful chemicals from the built environment. Her work draws from the long tradition at The New School University’s commitment to promoting community-based sustainability, social engagement, and environmental justice.
Laurens Bekemans is an architect and co-founder of Brussels-based BC architects & studies—an architectural practice and non-profit research entity and materials laboratory—and most recently, BC materials—an urban mining company that repurposes excavated earth from construction sites. BC is BC architects, studies and materials. BC stands for Brussels Cooperation and points to how BC grew – embedded within place and people. Started in 2012 as a hybrid office, BC is manoeuvring the boundaries of architecture in a doers manner. With three different legal entities, the team engages in a variety of experimental projects through which it designs bioregional and circular architecture, researches educational and construction processes and produces new building materials using local waste streams such as excavated earth.
Lindsey Wikstrom is the cofounding principal of Mattaforma, a design and research practice, and an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation. Her Core I architecture studio explores the generative potential of material sourcing, commons, and renewability, while her Advanced IV studio focuses on the architectural and urban implications of biodiverse mass timber. Her research has been supported by the SOM Foundation, published in Embodied Energy and Design: Making Architecture between Metrics and Narratives, and exhibited at the XXII Triennale di Milano, Broken Nature: Design Takes on Human Survival. Wikstrom has a forthcoming essay in Cite and a book project with Routledge.
Automated captioning is available for all online programs. American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation and live captioning is available for public programs upon request with two weeks’ advance notice. MoMA will make every effort to provide accommodation for requests made with less than two weeks’ notice. For accessibility questions or accommodation requests please email [email protected] or call (212) 708-9781
This session will be led virtually through Zoom, a free video-conferencing software. Participants are encouraged to use a computer, smart phone, or tablet with a camera and Internet access, if possible. Participants may also dial in using a phone line. Participants will receive a Zoom link upon registering.
This event was made possible through a generous gift from Emilio Ambasz. The Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment is a platform for fostering dialogue, promoting conversation, and facilitating research about the relationship between the built and natural environment, with the aim of making the interaction between architecture and ecology visible and accessible to the wider public while highlighting the urgent need for an ecological recalibration.