IN MEMORIAM – PETER BUCHANAN
The LSA is Moving
Become a Critical Practice Tutor at the LSA for 2023/24
Become a Design Tutor at the LSA for 2023/24
Pathways: Exhibiting Forms
City as Campus: The Furniture Practice
Summer Show 2023: FLAARE Futures Workshop
Summer Show 2023: Meet Your Future Employer
Summer Show 2023: Close to Home
WE ARE SEEKING A NEW FINANCE MANAGER
Nigel Coates: Liberating the Plan
AN INTERVIEW WITH ELLIOTT WANG, SECOND YEAR REP
PART 4 LAUNCH
IN MEMORIAM – CLIVE SALL
Our Design Charrettes – an insight into life at the LSA
BOOK NOW – OPEN EVENING WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH
An Interview with Emily Dew-Fribbance: LSA Alumna and First Year Design Tutor
Pathways: Optic Translations
Thursday Talks: Questioning How we Embed Sustainable Design in Practice
An Interview with LSA alumna Betty Owoo
Interview with Marianne Krogh – Rethinking water as a planetary and design element in the making of the Danish Pavilion at Venice Biennale
What do our students think of studying at the LSA? We spoke to Second Year student Semi Han
Hear from our Alumni – An Interview with Calven Lee
National Saturday Club Programme
LSA Alumnus Jack Banting published in FRAME
2022/23 Design Think Tank Module Launches
Mentoring can transform the architecture profession – for good
APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN FOR 2023/24
Alternative Routes To Registration: An Evening with ARB (17/11/2022)
Circular architecture needs material passports
Apply To The LSA: Online Intro (23/11/2022)
London School of Architecture announces strategic collaboration with Black in Architecture
LSA Summer Design Charrette
How fire has shaped London – from 1666 to Grenfell
Voices on: Architecture and Fire Safety
JOB OPPORTUNITY: DESIGN TECTONICS TUTOR
JOB OPPORTUNITY: DESIGN DIRECTION MODULE LEADER
JOB OPPORTUNITY: DESIGN HISTORY TUTORS
JOB OPPORTUNITY: DESIGN STUDIO TUTORS
JOB OPPORTUNITY: DESIGN CITIES MODULE LEADER
Voices on: Architecture and Displacement
Job Opening: Design Think Tank (DTT) Module Co-Leader — Apply by 20.06.2022
You’re invited to the LSA Summer Show 2022
LSA students shortlisted for London Festival of Architecture design competition
ELEVEN DESIGN THINK TANKS AIMING TO TRANSFORM THE CITY
LSA launches new bursary scheme for students from low-income backgrounds Copy
LSA announces Thomas Aquilina as inaugural Stephen Lawrence Day Foundation Fellow
LSA Tuesday Talks
Meet students, faculty and alumni at our Open Evening — 24.02.2022
Circular architecture needs material passports
In our ongoing series of opinion pieces, Rachel Hoolahan explains the pressing case for material passports
If we want to have a future world, we must embrace circularity. If we want to embrace circular architecture, material reuse is essential. And, if we want to embrace material reuse, I believe that material passports are vital.
The construction industry is currently facing two critical challenges. Firstly, we need to stop emitting carbon (and other harmful pollutants). Secondly, we need to slow down the extraction of natural resources. The simplest solution for both problems is to just stop building and live with the spaces that already exist.
But this isn’t the right answer either – we need spaces and places for our populations to thrive in an equitable way, and much of our current building stock just isn’t up to scratch. Therefore, the only alternative is to stop using new materials – or at the very least limit their use.
We are increasingly seeing project teams reusing as much of existing buildings as much as possible. Generally, a substantial amount of the original structure is retained. But any materials that must be removed from site as part of the demolition process ordinarily end up in a downcycling loop. Imagine if we could just carefully deconstruct the building and reuse the materials, either as they are, or with a light refurbishment?
In today’s industry, this is a seemingly impossible task. It’s considerably more expensive to deconstruct rather than demolish, and the materials typically haven’t been designed for deconstruction, often being glued together so it’s almost impossible to pull them apart without damaging something. It’s also perceived as a very risky business to take a material that you frankly know nothing about and install it ‘as new’ elsewhere.
A material passport is, as the name suggests, an identity document for construction materials. The basic idea is that if you have access to useful information, such as the original specification and life history of an element, you have a better chance of deciding if it has a future life or not. Most of the research work to date has focused on developing the concept for new materials, but at Orms we believe that we need to go beyond this and find a way to safely reuse the materials that are already in existence.
When we launched our research in 2021, we hoped that it would spark some conversations and inspire others to join the effort. We didn’t expect the level of interest and sheer quantity of offers of support that followed – from all corners of the industry, and increasingly, all corners of the world.
In 2022, we launched a material passport working group. The aim is to bring together the testing, thinking and debate, and to truly collaborate as an industry. Slowly, we’re starting to make meaningful progress as a collective and encourage others to join the chorus of voices advocating for material reuse and finding a way to make it happen.
Our role as architects is to identify and maximise the potential that each building opportunity presents. We must reflect on our current built environment, particularly the buildings that are not suitable for reuse, so we can truly understand how to design for circularity and carry this wisdom on to our future work. As custodians of our built environment, our sphere of influence is enormous – and we must choose to use it wisely.
Rachel Hoolahan is an associate at Orms, a Member Plus practice of the LSA Practice Network