climatic matters

Climatic Matters looks closely at peatland landscapes in the context of climate change, and imagines a new material future for the ground plane. Beyond the operational processes of peat extraction that have been supporting our constructed landscapes and horticulture industry for years, this research project looks at peatlands not solely as places of extraction but as living places where change creates new opportunities.

Peatlands are largely unstable ecosystems - they are constantly in a state of transformation. Starting from the colonization of a single plant of sphagnum peat moss to the development of deep peat soil. This state of transition is slow but continuous, making it valuable both for registering climate change and for studying material responses. The research project proposes a methodology of reading and learning from these marginal landscapes and their survival strategies and speculating upon a range of ground material options that resist and respond to change.

—Dimitra Grigoriou

concrete futures: post-extraction

While 63 percent of the global cement production is used towards the housing market, the volume of the overall demolished concrete also accounts for the world’s largest portion of construction waste. Among the trend of ever-renewing architecture in both developed and developing regions for modernization and urbanization, the global use of concrete will only perpetuate, if not increasing, from its current state.

Human’s unethical exploitation of nature to build up their own concrete jungle will eventually run short of support from the mother-nature – and endanger their own species with unpredictable climate events. To delay these potential man made crises, this research project seeks for a closed-loop design of recycled-reclaimed concrete.

—Athena Loi & Andrew Ashcraft

material fusions: symbiotic surfaces

The ground beneath our feet is shifting. Thousands of tons of material are excised each second-- an estimated 40 billion tons a year of construction aggregate alone. Raw material is then processed, perfected, and packaged. We paint our built environment with a material palette of linear lifespans, built to outlive us, without consideration for the landscapes they leave behind, or the mounds of detrital landforms they are destined to form.

Material Fusions imagines a world where we can no longer take for granted the seemingly never-ending supply chain that feeds our swelling cities. Where our aggregate sources have become scarce, cost-prohibitive to use, or ideally, recognized as too valuable to lose. It is a realization that our waste streams must become more cyclic, and where we are not afforded the luxury of virgin materials.

Through the integration of post-consumer and industrial waste streams into the aggregate supply chain, the project proposes a new marriage between natural and manufactured resources. These material fusions begin as additives and alternatives in existing applications with the eventual goal of largely replacing natural aggregate. The proposed system utilizes a cyclic process of reuse that is not heavily dependent on returning individual materials to a homogeneous state, but accepts and expects their recombination. As the materials are reused, their composition and potential applications change as the conglomerations slowly assume alternate lifeforms.

—Eleanor Birle & Nicholas Grimes