Thursday, July 4, 2013

4 Creative Upcycled Structures

Upcycling is the process of taking used or waste materials and converting them into new or higher quality materials. As recycling and sustainable buildings are gaining popularity, upcycling is one of the newest trends for green buildings. Usually materials are "downcycled" when re-used, which means that they are turned into materials of lesser quality. The concept of upcycling encourages creative uses of unwanted or waste materials in ways that may not have been thought of or implemented before.

Recycling and upcycling reduce gas emissions and our carbon footprint and have quickly become a unique trend for sustainability-minded designers and builders. Designers use recycled and wasted materials to create new, beautiful, and extremely creative structures.

DesignBuild Source recently featured structures that used upcycling in an exceptional way - here are a few highlights:

    Morrow Royal Pavilion used upcycled beer bottles.
    Morrow Royal Pavilion
  • The Morrow Royal Pavilion in Las Vegas is made of crushed glass. Over 500,000 beer bottles were crushed to make GreenStone, similar in appearance to sandstone but comprised of glass and  fly ash. Crushing the glass is low energy and allows this glass to be reused and leave behind no carbon footprint. 
  • The "Head in the Clouds" Pavilion is located on Governor's Island in New York. The structure is composed of over 50,000 recycled plastic bottles taken from multiple sources throughout the city including, schools, businesses,  and local residents. The structure is supported by sand, water, and aluminum tubes, and the bottles are then covered with recycled plastic milk jugs. Blue food coloring inside the water bottles gives the structure and ethereal, peaceful look where visitors can relax and gaze. 
Upcycled milk cartons form the Tetrabrik Pavilion in Spain
Tetrabrik Pavilion
  • Tetrabrik Pavilion, located in Spain, is composed of recycled plastic milk cartons, linked together with clips and supported by sandbags as counterweight. Over 100 colleges in Spain donated milk cartons to the project and architecture students continue to improve the pavilion, making it stronger against wind and weather. The building earned a Guinness World Record as being the largest building built from recycled materials. 
Upcylced paper constructs the The Paper Theatre in Paris
Paper Theatre
  • The Paper Theatre in Paris is constructed from paper from magazines, newspapers, and used office paper. This colorful theater was designed by Studio Andrew Todd and will be displayed at the World State Design event in Wales this September. This theater's exoskeleton is comprised of paper while its roof is made of bamboo material which allows natural light into the space.