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“WASTE AS RESOURCE” | Terra Viva Workshop n° 6 | 08-11 February 2018 | Politecnico di Milano

The workshop is inspired by the new book by Duncan Baker-Brown: “The Re-use Atlas. A designer’s guide towards a circular economy”. The developed economies are predicated on waste, but they rarely conceive this waste as a resource. “More than 90% of raw materials used in manufacturing become waste before the product leaves the factory, while 80% of the products get thrown away within the six months of their life”. Construction in Europe accounts for 33% of all waste.

There is a counter trend, however, and both building materials and processes are adjusting to a more circular economy. One of the most interesting displays at the last architecture Biennale in Venice has been the installation “A History of Waste” by the young Polish architect Hugon Kowalski, who after doing research on how materials are recuperated in Mumbai, turned his mind to European building products, attempting to reveal their performance in terms of “cradle to cradle” economical processes. Here you could touch new synthetic materials, Stone-cycling, Smile-plastics, Derbigum roofing, Inno-therm insulators, Mohawk flooring and learn what significant percentage is made from recyclables and what optimal rate of recycling the product can yield; Sus-con, a new concrete made of 100% recycled materials performs best, while Marley Eternit, performs the worst.

1) The first challenge in the workshop research will be to work on Baker-Brown’s book and Kowalski’s exhibition to evaluate a range of recycled building materials (during a previous Terra Viva WS students have already been testing and using recycled plastic for the foundation of the AGRIshelter prototype).

2) The second area of research will be more project-oriented, following the presentation by Alessio Battistella from “ARCò – Architettura e Cooperazione”, who will present a method to rationalize the sourcing of materials and innovative construction methods. Much of his work revolves around using local waste materials for self-construction projects.

- Submissions at:

- Location: Politecnico di Milano (Sede Leonardo)

- Credits: 4CFU (required attendance 2 Workshops)

- Facebook/Instagram Pages: Workshop.Terraviva

TerraViva Competitions

Recently created as a new branch of "TerraViva", this specific section proposes a series of design competitions in line with the topics addressed by our workshops and mainly directed to architecture students, new graduates and young designers.

TACTICAL URBANISM NOW! 2021 - The Reappropriation of Public Space will be the third competition of 2021. Starting from December 13th, registrations will be open until 18/03/2022.


December 13th "Tactical Urbanism NOW! 2021 - The Reappropriation of Public Space"; 10.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 18/03/2022; Results on 26/04/2022; Jury:  Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona), Public City (Winnipeg), Openfabric (Rotterdam); Orizzontale (Rome); Intuy Lab (Lima); Sports (New York); Atelier Nea (Paris); OBBA (Seoul);


September 10th "Hangar Ticinum - A Community Hub on the River"; 10.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 10/12/2021; Results on 20/01/2022; Jury: Piuarch (Milan); TSPA (Berlin); Stefano Boeri Architetti (Milan); Operastudio (New York); Degli Esposti Architetti (Milan); Untitled Architecture (Moscow); Comune di Pavia (Pavia); Politecnico di Milano (Milan);

March 15th "The Living Museum - Micro-Architectures in the Landscape"7.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 01/08/2021; Results on 13/09/2021; Jury: Topotek1 (Berlin); Elemental Architecture (New York); Stefano Boeri Architetti (Milan); Paredes Pedrosa (Madrid); NADAAA (Boston); One O One Architects (Seoul); Nicolas Campodonico (Rosario); Studio O (Berlin);

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