Sustainable architecture: Creating something new from something old

Urban trendsetters are increasingly forgoing their own cars and traveling with stylish car-sharing schemes in Berlin or Hamburg. People offer their tools, books or even their entire homes for sharing via online platforms. The “sharing economy” and careful use of resources are the buzzwords of the moment. So it’s unsurprising that no one is looking at the topic of “sustainable architecture” anymore.

Sustainable architecture

Sustainable architecture: What is the motivation behind it?

The multifaceted future of architecture has many ideas and starting points. Architects consider two points when choosing their materials in light of recycling of building materials: Conservation of resources – and aesthetics. Many key players in sustainable architecture report key events where they witnessed wonderful old building materials being disposed of carelessly. They wanted to do something about this. And what better to do than combine functionality with beauty?

The search for the perfect building material can be compared to the famous search for a needle in a haystack. This is where online platforms such as Salza come into play: All types of components can be found here. With a little luck, valuable materials can find a new home instead of being thrown away.

Spolia: new shine for past epochs

Spolia are an interesting example of the re-use of building materials: Old building material from another culture or period are used. A typical example would be the use of ancient building components in the Middles Ages. By using spolia, the historical value of the architecture from another era can be preserved and used in a graceful way – sustainability at its best.

Which materials work best in recycling architecture?

Any material can be given a second life in principal – whether it’s the windows from condemned houses throughout Europe which adorn the Council of Europe building, or the wood scraps from old cable drums which are celebrating their resurrection in a hip restaurant in Amsterdam. What counts is the aesthetic and resource-saving approach to building.

Concrete and matière grise: The shooting stars of recycling architecture

A big theme in sustainable architecture is recycling concrete. The ambition to reuse the old concrete, available everywhere, is not new. Recently, however, recycled concrete has received a boost and the pioneers are, as is so often the case, Switzerland. Numerous prestigious projects, such as the E-Science Lab in Zürich, are made from recycled concrete. And as the Swiss have masterfully shown that recycling does not mean doing without elegance, all sorts of important actors are following suit, such as the Berlin Humboldt University.

Those inspired by sustainable architecture had much to be excited about at the Matière Grise exhibition in Zürich in January 2017. The French architecture bureau, Encore Heureux, presented some of the most wonderful examples of successful integration of old materials in new outfits. With their Matière Grise exhibition, Encoure Heureux have shown what matters to them when it comes to construction: Grey Matter (English for Matière Grise) try to waste less grey material – in terms of our quality of life.

Exciting architecture trends at Engel & Völkers

The trend towards greater sustainability is certain to gain greater significance. If you’re interested in the trends of the future or have always known that architecture is an art form take at look at Engel & Völkers’ property search and discover your dream property with future-focussed features.

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