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

Four Streets scheme driven by community determination garners another accolade with MacEwen shortlist place for Granby Winter Garden by Assemble

Winter garden is latest addition to community initiative

Cullinan Studio MacEwen-shortlisted energy centre makes a north London street more attractive as it harvests heat from the Tube to power a district heating network

Plant reuses Tube’s heat to make local power

Portsmouth community centre repurposed by Pritchard Architecture from Treadgolds’ heritage buildings, tools and machinery secures MacEwen shortlist place

Community centre born out of Treadgolds’ rich remaining works

Conservation and innovative design underpins Hugo Hardy Architect’s MacEwen-shortlisted restoration and transformation of Rectory Lane Cemetery in Berkhamsted

Conservation and innovative design at restored cemetery

Glancy Nicholls regenerates a former Thornton's sweet factory as a civic amenity in Belper's Unesco heritage site to reach MacEwen Award shortlist

Former Thornton's factory regenerated as civic amenity