A near invisible choreography of future materials
The UIA World Congress of Architects 2023 held in Copenhagen was subtitled “Sustainable Futures: Leave No One Behind. Yet we have designed a Plastic Pavilion as one of the Copenhagen Pavilions that will feature during the Congress. Plastic? Sustainability?
Notwithstanding that there are no conditions under which new buildings can be sustainable – as recently asserted by the Danish Government Consumer Advocate – we are at least trying to decarbonise as much as is possible. But this remains a dodgy dark art of misinformation where CLT uses only 30% of the tree (the rest is chipped and burnt) and Carbon Lifecycle Assessments can be gamed via the methodology used.
Despite these grey areas of misinformation and misrepresentation, people are keen to write off plastic because, well, its plastic. But until we find something better, we all need plastic (especially when we are in hospital or have chronic health issues). So, in the meantime, we need to find ways of recycling and upcycling and re-using plastic, as best we can, noting that these processes too have their own impacts.
The Plastic Pavilion represents the Danish Plastic Association (Plastindustrien) and the efforts of their members to innovate in the way their products are made in the form of an exhibition that broadcasts current innovations in plastic technology. All materials used in the construction of the pavilion (and the 75 exhibits) are examples of plastic recycling and reuse. It’s still plastic, but important to include as part of a broader discussion regard the continued optimisation of the materials we use.
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