‘Demolition is an act of violence’: the architects reworking buildings instead of tearing them down

The planned demolition of London’s flagship M&S store will release 40,000 tonnes of CO2 into the air. Is it time for a new age of creative architectural reuse? Nestled like a red question mark in the hills of rural Japan, the Kamikatsu Zero Waste Centre is a recycling facility like no other. A chunky frame of unprocessed cedar logs from the nearby forest supports a long snaking canopy, sheltering walls made of a patchwork quilt of 700 old windows and doors, reclaimed from buildings in the village. Inside, rows of shiitake mushroom crates donated by a local farm serve as shelving units, while the floors are covered with cast terrazzo made from broken pottery, waste floor tiles and bits of recycled glass, forming a polished nougat of trash. It is a fitting form for what is something of a temple to recycling. In 2003, Kamikatsu became the first place in Japan to pass a zero-waste declaration, after the municipality was forced to close its polluting waste incinerator. Since then, the remote village (with a population of 1,500, one hour’s drive from the nearest city) has become an unlikely leader in the battle against landfill and incineration. Residents now sort their rubbish into 45 different categories – separating white paper from newspapers, aluminium coated paper from cardboard tubes and bottles from their caps – leading to a recycling rate of 80%, compared with Japan’s national average of 20%. Villagers typically visit the centre once or twice a week, which has been designed with public spaces and meeting rooms, making it a social hub for the dispersed town. It even has its own recycling-themed boutique hotel attached, called WHY – which might well be your first response when someone suggests staying next to a trash depot. Continue reading...

Post a Comment