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Diploma 18 York walling stones being redressed at Abacus Stone Sales, West Yorkshire. Image Credit: Seunghun Lee

Salvage: Exploring, Designing and Building with Reused Materials

Aude-Line Dulière, James Westcott, Lionel Devlieger, Maarten Gielen

What are the potentialities of understanding architecture as a system that orchestrates flows of materials and resources? For instance: if a building is to be clad in stone, can the quarry providing the raw material be considered a part of the architectural project? What are the moral and economic implications of this proposition? How can architects take responsibility not only for the process of adding to the world’s built fabric, but also for the subtraction, processing, transport and storage of material implied by any given design? What about the collateral spatial, social and environmental conditions – the effects of a project that fall well outside the designated plot?

Ninety percent of the UK’s construction and demolition waste is ‘recovered’ – an impressive statistic, taken at face value. The vast majority of it, however, is incinerated to produce energy or recycled. Only one percent of recovered material is actually collected and retained for future reuse. DIP18 students have begun the documentation of the architectural salvage industry in the UK, working with this one percent to make the reuse of material a more efficient, transparent and, eventually, instinctive option for the architecture and building industry.

The first part of our brief is to expand this research through a series of visits to salvage companies across the UK. Students will conduct interviews, produce inventories of material and develop an understanding of supply chains and reconditioning processes. Equipped with these resources, students will select particular materials and suppliers in order to design a structure to be erected in Hooke Park. The brief for these designs will focus on providing temporary accommodation/shelter for students visiting the AA’s campus in the forest. Parts, if not all, of these designs will be built and tested at a 1:1 scale. 

These projects should be transformable and deconstructable, emphasising building as a constant process of doing and undoing. Hooke Park has long been a laboratory for architectural projects, using wood from its own forest in their construction. We will bring reclaimed materials into Hooke Park’s repertoire, ultimately asking: can we design not just a building, but also its underlying system of material supply?

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Lionel Devlieger and Maarten Gielen are founding members of Rotor (Brussels). Together they have taught at TU Delft and Columbia University, and curated the 2013 Oslo Architecture Triennale, Behind the Green Door.

Aude-Line Duliere is an architect. She holds a MArch from the Harvard GSD, has been part of Rotor’s development team and worked at David Chipperfield Architects. She is the recipient of the 2018 Wheelwright Prize.

James Westcott was the editor of Elements of Architecture by Rem Koolhaas (2018) and is the author of When Marina Abramovic Dies: A Biography (2010).

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The Architectural Association receives Taught Degree Awarding Powers by the Lords of Her Majesty’s Most Honourable Privy Council.

The Architectural Association (AA), the oldest independent school of architecture in the United Kingdom, is pleased to announce that it has been granted the power to award its own degrees. As of 1 October 2019, the AA has the right to establish new academic programmes and degree awards and is working to create some of the world’s most pioneering courses in architecture to shape and build the future.

Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) give UK higher education institutions the right to award bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Prospective students worldwide can apply to the AA Foundation Course (Foundation Diploma), Experimental Programme BA(Hons), Diploma Programme (MArch), and nine taught postgraduate programmes encompassing History and Critical Thinking in Architecture (MA), Projective Cities (Taught MPhil) and Sustainable Environmental Design (MSc/MArch), amongst others.

AA Director, Eva Franch said, ‘since our founding in 1847 we have never ceased to create new horizons, institutionally and academically. This is a significant milestone for the AA and demonstrates how we have grown and progressed as an institution that has always valued independence. Receiving TDAP marks a new era for our institution; these are exciting times for the AA. The process has required considerable work from all members of staff and students. I would like to take this opportunity to credit them for this major achievement’.

President of the AA Council, Victoria Thornton added, ‘the TDAP process has recognised our strong governance, academic standards, scholarship and teaching as well as the environment supporting the delivery of taught higher education programmes’.

The School’s application for Taught Degree Awarding Powers was supported by the Architects Registration Board, the Royal Institute of British Architects and The Open University.