1. Construction Waste
Construction waste is everywhere. We cannot stop the fact that it won't end being there because humanity has the need to keep building year after year. Construction waste is one of the most polluting industries in the world, but, how can we help from design to prevent this?
Bricks are very usual as a construction material. Brick’s history is very long, not only as a material but also its technology. Bricks are one of the 2 most used materials in construction waste globally, but what happens when we demolish a brick building? What happens with all that material? As designers, we thought about this waste as an opportunity to reuse a material that usually ends up in landfills, take advantage of its properties and design from this.
Let the epiphany begin
We grind each brick by hand. The idea is to get the smallest possible pieces, so that the final product is completely smooth.
Concrete, on the other hand, is the most polluting material in the industry, and is also one of the most used in residential and public buildings. Concrete has a much harder consistency than bricks, but to be reused in this project, it was necessary to grind it, but this time without the need to reach its powdery texture.
"In the time it takes you to read this sentence, the global building industry will have poured more than 19,000 bathtubs of concrete."
Is this sentence big enough to capture the magnitude of the problem?
Jonathan Watts in 2019 defines this after writing the article "Concrete: the most destructive material on Earth".
But now, how do we agglutinate all our waste in a way that the new material is durable over time?
Although we tried to use 100% sustainable binders such as Jesmonite (sustainable water-based resin), we came to the conclusion that to generate a greater impact, it was necessary to use materials that were more achievable for everyone. This is why, after studying the properties of white cement, we decided to use it as a binder.
White cement based products can be recycled and used in other products at the end of their useful life.
The pigmented white cement can be produced and applied easily without any need of paint on the finished product.
Thermal insulating characteristics of concrete based materials is considerably better than other competitive materials.
Using the rammed earth technique, we use only 10% white cement together with the recycled bricks and recycled ground cement, until we reach a consistency that is neither too liquid nor too dry. With very little amount of water, the materials are mixed and they are added layer by layer in the created mold.
Each layer must be crushed imitating the rammed earth technique, in this way, the final consistency of the product will be completely solid and will not come off its base.
If you want to know more about the Rammed Earth technique, keep reading...