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The role of discarded materials in the architectural design.


Keywords:reclaimed materials, reuse, waste flows, Amsterdam

Contemporary topics within the field of architecture are the scarcity of resources and vacancy. On top of that we are a consumer society; we produce a lot of waste. Reuse could be an interesting solution for these problems; especially since besides being one of the biggest material consumers, the building industry is the biggest contributor to the annual waste in the Netherlands. This paper will elaborate on the following question: What role can local waste that is both available in large quantities and within the coming years play in the redevelopment of vacant large scale buildings? Besides describing the underlying problems and changes of working with reused materials, the paper will give some examples on how to find these materials, how to evaluate them and give some examples of general architectural implementations. The research paper is therefore set in Amsterdam as this city is the main contributor to both building related waste and the vacancy in the Netherlands.Three scenarios for finding these materials are given; of which two will be further elaborated. Both scenarios have been mapped to give an insight of the waste flows. The first scenario looks at the problem of office vacancy. The biggest category is offices from the 80s and in their current state these buildings would score a G on the EPC. In order to reuse these buildings, they need to be renovated; which means generation building and construction waste. The second scenario focusses on the harbour of Amsterdam and its waste flows. An example of a reclaimable material from office renovations is the carpet tile. Although it may sound like a very simple object; it is one of the best reclaimable and one of the most available products. Reusing carpet tiles is not limited to their original application; examples will be given for implementations in constructions, facades and interiors. The higher purpose of this research paper is to inform anyone that’s interested in designing about the possibilities of reclaimed materials; to make them reconsider the design process. Because implementing reclaimed materials does change this process; the materials are a given and will form the starting point of the design.


Written by: Maya de Groot


This research is part of the graduation studio of Architectural Engineering at the Faculty of Architecture of TUDelft. The aim of the research is to analyse the context and develop program for a new Cyclifier. The research has been conducted under the supervision of Jan Jongert.





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