img(height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2939831959404383&ev=PageView&noscript=1")

Rising Star: Re-Fabricate

Words:
Isabelle Priest

Committee of architects and architectural assistants tackling construction industry waste

RIBAJ Rising Star 2020 Re-Fabricate consists of (clockwise from top left): Paul Daramola, Sophie Zara James, Guiseppe Ferrigno, Kate Ridgway, Roseanne Scott and Tiziana Di Ronco
RIBAJ Rising Star 2020 Re-Fabricate consists of (clockwise from top left): Paul Daramola, Sophie Zara James, Guiseppe Ferrigno, Kate Ridgway, Roseanne Scott and Tiziana Di Ronco

Part 1: 2012-2013  Part 2: 2017-2020 

This collective of architectural professionals is unified by the ambition to eradicate waste from the construction industry. In 2019 the committee founded Re-Fabricate, a project inspired by the circular economy which asked participants to collaboratively develop products that reuse waste for construction.

Launching at the RIBA Sustainability Festival, the team recruited members, negotiated funding, generated an online presence, and organised and hosted a series of events and workshops for participants, mentors and the public. Between February and June 2020, six multi-skilled teams developed products and business proposals that enable reuse of an assigned waste material. The results ranged from WoWood, a biodegradable acoustic panel produced out of timber waste, to UPlastic, an incentivised plastic recycling app, and GlassPass, a glass-based passport system that records the material’s ‘DNA’ to ensure it can be sorted and reused effectively. 

The success of Re-Fabricate has resulted in several commissioned talks and a feature on the RIBAJ website. On top of this, the above projects are all being taken forward and are looking for funding to become commercially available. The committee is now developing Re-Fabricate 2021 and looking to maximise its impact through education, wider industry collaboration and engaging regions outside London

 

Re-Fabricate launch event at the RIBA.
Re-Fabricate launch event at the RIBA.

Judge Jo Dimitri comments: ‘This is something fresh, innovative and new, tackling the issue of climate change. The group has taken a lead in the field that is original. Doing this as one person wouldn’t work. The method of creating sub teams was important in making it happen.’

‘I like that the team is pushing the boundaries of architectural practice using their skills,’ says Alex Ely. Klaus Bode, meanwhile, thinks the focus on materials is particularly strong as we move towards zero-carbon production.

The aggregates group devised a product using coffee grounds as an alternative to sand for making concrete.
The aggregates group devised a product using coffee grounds as an alternative to sand for making concrete.

What existing building or place would you most like to tackle?

Environmental practice does not apply to one specific typology. We need to transform design and construction methods for all buildings. Existing ones should be seen as ‘material banks’ to be carefully dismantled and reused once they reach the end of their functional lifespan. By structuring our industry around disassembly rather than demolition we can end the environmental exploitation of construction. Although we appreciate this raises many questions in relation to funding and procurement, it is a necessity if we are to combat the disastrous effect climate change is having on our planet. Our research is looking at developing a database of ‘waste materials’ available for reuse in construction.


Read about more 2020 Rising Stars here

Latest

While the downturn is set to be comparatively shallow and brief, a number of construction sectors are set to contract, warns the 2023 RIBA Economics Panel

RIBA Economics Panel forecasts a brief and shallow recession

Want to help masterplan a new garden city, revitalise a heritage-rich site in Shrewsbury, or design a reading space versatile enough to pitch anywhere in the world? These are the latest architecture contracts and competitions from across the industry

Latest: Suffolk garden city design team

‘The brightest’ Yale classmate of Foster and Rogers; a modernist architect whose designs included Tate St Ives, teacher and active advocate for the profession

Co-founder of Evans & Shalev, modernist architect and teacher

Reeded House is full of verticals, but the line between old and new, seen and hidden, is distinctly blurred

Oliver Leech Architects’ very private home

Socially beneficial schemes shows how architecture can heal cracks, if not divisions, in our communities. Eleanor Young weighs economic optimism against cost of living pessimism

How architecture can heal cracks in communities