Starting of the UPCYCLING teaching unit

Upcycling © EPFL / IDEAS

Upcycling © EPFL / IDEAS

As part of the axis « Integrated Design, Architecture and Sustainability (IDEAS) », the UPCYCLING teaching unit focuses on the integration of sustainability issues into architectural design, with special attention to savings in resources. Dedicated to the interdisciplinary design of a temporary pavilion, it gathers about forty EPFL students supervised by lecturers from the Laboratory of Architecture and Sustainable Technologies (LAST), the Laboratory of Integrated Performance in Design (LIPID) and the Structural Xploration Lab (SXL).

At first sight, notions of temporary architecture and sustainability may seem contradictory. Indeed, the concept of sustainable development is fundamentally based on the idea of long-term action. Therefore, it may seem out of the ordinary to associate it with practices that, by essence, aim at meeting punctual or ephemeral needs.

However, the term “sustainable” (durable in French) should not be understood in terms of an architectural object’s perennity, but rather as the search of a “state of durability” by the pursuit of a proper balance between the needs to be met and the means implemented in order to attain them. Thus, considering sustainability as a constant search for an optimal equilibrium between needs and means, temporary architecture appears as a fertile ground for reflection and experimentation.

The teaching unit will center around this issue of finding balance between meeting needs and saving resources, focusing on the design of a temporary architectural object. More specifically, the students will be asked to design a temporary pavilion dedicated to hosting participatory processes, integrating recycled elements, satisfying users’ comfort requirements and managing the ecological load induced by their projects.