Mar 24

LSA and Black Females in Architecture (BFA) Announce new partnership

Feb 24

24/25 Admissions Open Evening – 6 March

Dec 23

2023 LSA GRADUATES WIN RIBA SILVER MEDAL AND COMMENDATION

Nov 23

STEFAN BOLLINGER APPOINTED AS CHAIR OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Nov 23

STEPHEN LAWRENCE DAY FOUNDATION SCHOLARSHIP

Nov 23

APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN FOR OUR PART 2 MARCH FOR 2024/25

Nov 23

Open Evening – 7 December 2023

Oct 23

BOOK PART 4 NOW: SHORT COURSES – MODULAR LIFELONG LEARNING – FUTURE PRACTICE

Aug 23

IN MEMORIAM – PETER BUCHANAN

Jul 23

The LSA is Moving

Jun 23

Become a Critical Practice Tutor at the LSA for 2023/24

Jun 23

Become a Design Tutor at the LSA for 2023/24

Jun 23

Pathways: Exhibiting Forms

Jun 23

City as Campus: The Furniture Practice

Jun 23

Summer Show 2023: FLAARE Futures Workshop

Jun 23

Summer Show 2023: Meet Your Future Employer

Jun 23

Summer Show 2023: Close to Home

May 23

WE ARE SEEKING A NEW FINANCE MANAGER

Mar 23

Nigel Coates: Liberating the Plan

Mar 23

AN INTERVIEW WITH ELLIOTT WANG, SECOND YEAR REP

Feb 23

PART 4 LAUNCH

Feb 23

IN MEMORIAM – CLIVE SALL

Feb 23

Our Design Charrettes – an insight into life at the LSA

Feb 23

BOOK NOW – OPEN EVENING WEDNESDAY 8 MARCH

Feb 23

An Interview with Emily Dew-Fribbance: LSA Alumna and First Year Design Tutor

Feb 23

Pathways: Optic Translations

Jan 23

Thursday Talks: Questioning How we Embed Sustainable Design in Practice

Jan 23

An Interview with LSA alumna Betty Owoo

Jan 23

Interview with Marianne Krogh – Rethinking water as a planetary and design element in the making of the Danish Pavilion at Venice Biennale

Dec 22

What do our students think of studying at the LSA? We spoke to Second Year student Semi Han

Dec 22

Hear from our Alumni – An Interview with Calven Lee

Dec 22

National Saturday Club Programme

Nov 22

LSA Alumnus Jack Banting published in FRAME

Nov 22

2022/23 Design Think Tank Module Launches

Nov 22

Mentoring can transform the architecture profession – for good

Nov 22

APPLICATIONS ARE OPEN FOR 2023/24

Nov 22

Alternative Routes To Registration: An Evening with ARB (17/11/2022)

Nov 22

Circular architecture needs material passports

Nov 22

Apply To The LSA: Online Intro (23/11/2022)

Oct 22

LSA Registrar

Oct 22

London School of Architecture announces strategic collaboration with Black in Architecture

Aug 22

LSA Summer Design Charrette

Jul 22

How fire has shaped London – from 1666 to Grenfell

Jul 22

Voices on: Architecture and Fire Safety

Jun 22

JOB OPPORTUNITY:  DESIGN TECTONICS TUTOR

Jun 22

JOB OPPORTUNITY:  DESIGN DIRECTION MODULE LEADER

Jun 22

JOB OPPORTUNITY:  DESIGN HISTORY TUTORS

Jun 22

JOB OPPORTUNITY: DESIGN STUDIO TUTORS

Jun 22

JOB OPPORTUNITY:  DESIGN CITIES MODULE LEADER

Jun 22

Voices on: Architecture and Displacement

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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