• Alice Bodkin

Is Reuse, Renew, Recycle The New Blueprint For Architecture?




MoMA in New York announced at the start of June that it will open it’s exhibit Reuse, Renew, Recycle: Recent Architecture from China in September. The exhibition is set to explore the work of an emerging generation of Chinese architects and their motivations to design for environmental and social responsibility.


Spotlighting eight projects from firms such as archi-union, studio zhu pei and amateur architecture studio, the work will explore the potential opportunities of reusing former industrial buildings, the reinterpretation of ancient construction techniques and the recycling of building materials. The projects will showcase varying typologies including photographs, drawings, models and architectural mock-ups.


In the shared press release, MoMa disclosed that the exhibition has been developed over the last four years. Across the works, there will be an exploration of reusing former industrial buildings, the application of recycling building materials and the reinterpretation of ancient construction techniques. This will be inclusive of the heightened interest of rejuvenating rural villages and non-invasive architectural insertions.The exhibit is set to lay out a blueprint as to how architects and designers can create buildings and cities for a less extractive and more resource-conscious future.


The exhibit is being organised by Martino Stierli, the Philip Johnson Chief Curator of Architecture and Design, and Evangelos Kotsioris, curatorial assistant, Department of Architecture and Design.


Whilst we will have to wait until September to learn more about the exhibition, we are left with this question: if we are to embrace lessons from Chinese architecture, is Reuse, Renew, Recycle the new blueprint for design? There is no denying that human economic activities are dependent on our global ecosystem and the finite resources of raw materials. With the pressures of climate change and the race to zero, embracing circular design models will be critical. Architecture is being presented with an opportunity to break existing paradigms and conspire new aesthetical design decisions to ensure sustainable practices are created.

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