Dear colleagues, students and fellow guests,
we are happy to announce Césare Peeren of Superuse Studios / Superuse on Site as part of the lecture series 'Positionen'. It will be held on the 15th of December 2022 at 7pm in english.
Superuse Studios is an international architecture collective for circular and sustainable design.. Cofounded by Césare Peeren and Jan Jongert in 1997 they were early adopters of sustainable and circular design in architecture. Last year Superuse received the ARC21 ‘oeuvre-award’ for their pioneering work that ranges from harvesting materials to design and construction of projects and advisory work in the field of Circular Building. The jury compared their approach with the Art-trouvé movement in the Art world, where found objects were taken out of their context and turned into art, in Superuse Studios case into Architecture. Their spin-off ‘Blade-made’ a company focused on the re-use of discarded rotor blades from windmills is expanding and one of their blade-made playgrounds was shown as a centrepiece of this year’s Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. Other remarkable projects from the office are among others: Blue-City, a transformation of a former tropical ‘swimparadise’ in Rotterdam into a hub for sustainable companies and a Waste-recycling station in the Hague.
In Superuse Studios opinion is a design is not considered as the beginning of a linear, but circular process: A phase in a continuous cycle of creation and recreation, use and reuse.
Superuse Studios apply several strategies to make sustainable architecture with reclaimed materials.
Harvesting Superuse calls searching, finding and dismantling reusable building materials ‘harvesting’. For this purpose, Superuse founded the platform oogstkaart.nl in 2012. This marketplace for reusable building materials is used by Superuse itself and by external architects, design professionals, builders and project developers. In 2019, the platform was sold to urban mining company New Horizon.
When materials can be harvested for a structure, Superuse prefers to search as locally as possible. If there is demolition or renovation of an existing building at the location of the design brief, this is logically the first source to harvest materials. After that, sources are sought in the vicinity of the project, whereby the scale can be increased if necessary.
There are various sources of residual materials, each with its own characteristics and dynamics:
_ End of life cycle (waste)
_ Construction and demolition (waste)
_ Dead stock (new)
_ Production failures (new)
_ Fast-life (short use)
Re-use Demolishing a building costs a lot of energy, so Superuse’s strategy is to reuse an entire building wherever possible. Here, we do not only mean renovating, but we often work on a complete change of function. Of course with the preservation of as many valuable parts of the old building as possible. The supporting structure is always the starting point. Within the preconditions of load-bearing capacity and dimensions, we look for the optimal layout for the required programme. Where necessary, we make breakthroughs for the benefit of routing or add floors if the height allows. Often, a new entrance provides better access to all functions and creates a place that can give an identity to the new use.
We keep all installations for heating and electricity separate from other built-in parts according to the layer model of Stewart Brand, so that maintenance is easy and future changes are possible. By thinking in terms of layers with different lifespans, we literally create a layered building.
Circulair Materials Superuse uses a decision tree to make the hierarchy of material choices clear. Starting from Preventing and Reusing materials, via using Renewable & biobased & Recycled materials and only use Conventional materials when no other options are available.
Superuse prefers to work with locally harvested reusable building materials. This is where the biggest environmental gains can be made. Reuse prevents the production of new building material, no pollution is released by recycling or burning waste. Moreover, transport movements and related emissions are minimal.
Circulair Building Process Circular building requires an integral approach from the ambition phase to realisation. Central to this is the design, in which Superuse as architect works together with partners and the client as a design team on a Dynamic Final Design. In addition to the usual drawings, this consists of a harvest map that shows the origin of the materials and a dynamic bill of materials that dissects the design into all architectural components. The project’s harvest map is fed by all sources known to us and to select materials we use the decision tree that helps to limit CO2emissions. The preference is to work with re-used materials, where available and applicable.
Demountable Construction Demountable construction occupies an important place within the circular construction methodology. This is also referred to as detachability. Materials can then be reused not just once, but continuously. Therefore, it is important that buildings and building elements are designed and built in a way that allows them to be detached. Superuse therefore designs as much as possible ‘dry’. In other words, with dismountable connections that ensure that materials and building elements can be released without damage during maintenance or at the end of their lifespan.
Material Driven Design In material-driven design, the architect is inspired and guided by available reusable materials. We assume high-quality reuse. This means that the material can be used again in its original function or in a higher one without much processing.
In the concept or sketch design phase, the reusable material with all its characteristic properties (such as size, shape, colour, weather resistance, durability) serves as inspiration. Sometimes the actual material is already known, other times Superuse works with materials that experience has shown will become available.
Permits and Warrenties At present, there are few suppliers who offer guarantees on reused materials. Therefore, other constructions have to be devised in order to retain the trust of clients. Depending on the scale of the project, a certain strategy can be adopted. For instance: using a shared responsibility, an external assessment or via stockpiling