Those of us who grew up in the 80’s became very familiar with the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It wasn’t until a recent spat in front of the idiot box, however, that War on Waste’s Craig Reucassel brought forth an ‘ah huh’ moment by stating that those three R’s appear in order of importance. This ultimate #didyouknow? moment started a rapid dialogue in my head that ultimately had me reaching for my laptop to check out some of the key materials used in urban development that we should be paying serious attention to in terms of their reuse attributes. Because good things come in 3’s here are a few of those multifaceted materials that are steeped in sustainable, economical and aesthetic principles that deem them hugely relevant today.
#1 RAMMED EARTH
Essentially, the fastest way to reduce our waste is to use less stuff. By minimising the development of new products (not to be confused with pioneering materials that are being devised from existing surplus) we can limit the expenditure of unnecessary materials and energy. Not only is rammed earth a highly sustainable resource that can be extracted with minimal waste being generated, it also has structural properties, is extremely durable, beautiful and fire retardant. It is a very honest material that is highly resonant within the Australian landscape.
Robson Rak Architecture + Interior Design have 6 rammed earth homes under their belt and have come to acknowledge this as their preferred building material.
Merricks House by Robson Rak Architecture + Interior Design sit harmoniously in its coastal surrounds thanks large to its rammed earth facade.
Rammed earth exudes a warm and beautiful character that is highly conducive to interior residential use.
Sustainable building materials need to be much more than simply constructed from recycled materials. Recycling a material does not, in itself, deem the evolved result sustainable or low impact. Rather, they need to be recyclable, durable, and reusable. Cork fits the bill on all of these counts. When harvested sustainably, cork bark self replenishes and requires very little energy to acquire. It also has a huge breadth of use as a building material both in interior and external uses.
Redshank || Cork clad artist studio by British architect Lisa Shell
Glass is made from one of the worlds most abundant raw materials, sand. Fully recyclable and able to be recycled in a close loop over and over again, this humble building product is also able to save energy through insulation, as well as safeguard against adverse elements. Aesthetically pleasing and with extremely low levels of solid waste in its production, glass has characteristics that enhance space and provide functional elements that are highly conducive to people’s well-being and improved health conditions.
Melbourne’s THAT House by Austin Maynard Architects heralds glass to introduce an illusion to space and a residential design that promotes health and well-being in its occupants.
Words by Tiffany Jade.