Norman Foster Foundation Cities: Affordable Housing Workshop 2022

Page 38 Architecture and Regenerative Thinking Peter van Assche Referencing his work at the renowned design firm bureau SLA, Peter van Asssche’s seminar articulated a collection of new architectural repertoires for a circular economy. From architecture to the journeys of Gulliver, Models of Doom, the Anthropocene, Alice in Wonderland, László Moholy-Nagy, hobbit houses and the making of toasters, the seminar covered a wide range of concepts that aimed to trigger imagination. Making clear that ‘in a circular economy, there is no waste and raw materials are used over and over again’, van Assche started his seminar by noticing that more than half of the waste that our civilization produces is waste from construction and infrastructure, that is: waste resulting from designs by architects. The transition to a circular economy will mean a fundamental transformation across the full breadth of the field of construction and has a series of serious implications for the architectural discipline. These new system logics will, according to him, not only provide sustainable architecture but will offer solutions for societal challenges that traditional design does not offer. Continuing with an explanation of the inspirations and technical aspects behind projects such as the Cultural Heart Berlijnplein, People’s Pavilion or the Pretty Plastic Plant, van Assche commented to the seminar’s listeners that one of the main motivations behind future architecture should be to promote the value of a closedloop, or ‘circular’, construction system, which involves thinking beyond the life of the building, so that little or no waste is produced as a result, exemplified by the use of plastics of these buildings in particular. To conclude, van Assche commented on the lack of proper regenerative strategies as part of an architectural design and the likelihood of demolition as an inherent feature of a building. As he stated, with a different design strategy, intelligent reuse may be more self-evident. But how do you do that? Which tools do architects have to ensure that their creations are not a problem, but a blessing in thirty years’ time? With these questions van Assche invited the audience to embrace new modes of regenerative thinking and to explore various regenerative design strategies that will produce more sustainable architectures. Peter van Assche at the Norman Foster Foundation’s library during his seminar on regenarite thinking 2022 Cities: Affordable Housing Workshop Contents Report