Ecologies of Inception

Ecologies of Inception




By Simone Ferracina

Image and text courtesy of the Publisher
Publisher : Routledge
400 Pages 162 B/W Illustrations
Language: English
ISBN: 9780367858766

Responding to increasing levels of planetary pollution, waste generation, carbon dioxide emission and environmental collapse, Ecologies of Inception re-thinks potentiality—an object’s ability to change—in architecture and design.

The book problematizes the still-prevailing modern paradigm of design practice: the technical tabula rasa, a tendency to begin from scratch and use raw, amorphous, and obedient materials that can be easily and effectively manipulated, facilitating a seamless and faithful embodiment of intentions. Instead, the philosophy of design developed in the text prompts—through a variety of case studies, thinkers, and disciplines—a collective reconsideration of value, dissociating it from the projects and signatures of any one author or generation. Whereas the merits of up-cycling and circular design are canonically defined vis-à-vis status-quo economic and socio-cultural orthodoxies, this project unpacks the theoretical assumptions that underpin these practices, showing that they perpetuate the same biases and exclusions that generate waste in the first place.

As an alternative, the book introduces a nodal and exaptive paradigm for design: a conceptual and methodological toolset for engaging the durational and anthropocenic materiality of the third millennium, and for radically prioritizing practices of maintenance, reuse, care, and co-option. This approach, which is inspired by (and builds upon) evolutionary biology, technological disobedience, queer use, adaptive reuse, experimental preservation, and improvisational practices such as collage, adhocism, bricolage, and kit-bashing, refuses to reduce pre-existing material substrates to abstract lists of properties or featureless lumps, encountering them on their own terms—as situated individuals and co-authors.

Ecologies of Inception will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, educators, and professional architects and designers interested in sustainable design and seeking to develop conceptual and design tools commensurate with the magnitude and urgency of the climate emergency.

About the author:

Simone Ferracina is the founding director of Exaptive Design Office (EDO) and a Lecturer in Architectural Design/Detail at the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), The University of Edinburgh.

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Text: Superuse on site | Photography: © Denis Guzzo

GREENHOUSE embodies the classic look of a wooden barn and the typical structure of Dutch greenhouses: reused materials combined with DIY community-based building for a low impact and comfortable living environment

In the heart of the Dutch countryside of Drenthe, Superuse on Site designed and developed an exceptional living unit for the “Foundation for The New World.” Formed in 1969, this international community is one of the oldest in The Netherlands. The collective owns 10 hectares of land, where they live following a sustainable and self-sufficient lifestyle, ecological thinking, and spiritual awareness. 

aerial views of the GreenHouse immersed in the countryside | © Denis Guzzo

In the context of an intentional and environmentally aware community, Superuse on Site created a synergy between the design and building process, resulting in a communal effort and empowering cooperation during the whole process. Greenhouse embodies the classical look of a Dutch wooden barn and the typical structure of Dutch greenhouses. The structure forms a barrier between the southern vegetable garden and the backyard, where parking, firewood storage, and recycling are organized.

↑ Image slider: aerial views of the GreenHouse

Assignment for
Superuse on site

Design a flexible house for two families in the community that can be transformed, if needed, into a home for four-families in the future. The house must represent an example of a living unit that utilizes as little energy as possible for heating and ventilation, be built with as little impact as possible during construction, and once in use. There was a budget of €250,000; exceeding this would be at the expense of the social sustainability of the community. It is preferably to be built from bio-based materials and reused components, with a natural look.

The northern facade with limited windows to optimize the internal micro-climates.

The western and eastern sides reveal the hybrid use of material. 

On both sides water is colleted for gardening.

↑ Image slider: selected horizontal views of the Greenhouse’s exteriors.


Approach and process

Superuse on Site approached the initial phase of the design process by living at the location for a month, creating an inventory of the available materials on site, the various local flows, and the skills available among the community. The design and sustainability principles adapted to these primary conditions and available resources. Thanks to the building skills of the owners and volunteers and the low-tech climatic approach, S.o.s. was able to develop this outstanding project within the given budget.

S.os adaption of the concept presented in DeKay, M., Brown, G.Z. (2014) Sun, Wind & Light. Architectural Design Strategies.  

An ecosystem of disciplines

By choice, most of the design was created on-site, allowing for direct dialog and decision-making with the community, and for making the most of direct observations of the flows of materials, functions, and the climate study across the seasons.  An initial concept of a mud house in a glasshouse was further developed to a mud coated and wooden cladded strawbale house merged with a glasshouse. S.os then worked closely with SUS ateliers whose teachers and students developed climate models and calculations.

↑ Image slider: approach and process. Photos courtesy of Hobbitstee & Eva Flendrie.

Some of the facilities arranged to host the volunteers.

↑ Image slider: approach and process. Photos courtesy of Hobbitstee & Eva Flendrie.

Though the project was supervised by the architects and advisors an environment was created to learn and share knowledge. Furthermore, to feed and house all the volunteer workers with healthy and organic food, the community developed additional facilities. The gardens were cultivated to provide a variety of vegetables. A bakery was set up, and the local company Westerzwam implemented mushroom cultivation on coffee grounds from the daily coffee breaks of a nearby military base.

In addition, a workshop, a canteen with a cafeteria, and several tiny houses were built across the plot of land. The facilities created to support the building process resulted in a relevant upgrade that has strengthened local food production and economy. They remain in use for communal dinners, bartering, trading food with neighbors and friends, and hosting visitors.

Materials and technique

The sketch design for the GreenHouse was converted into a shopping list of building materials to be ‘harvested’. Inhabitants and volunteers were trained by Superuse, joining together as the ‘Harvest Team’, scouting and listing suitable material options. From these findings, the final selection of materials was based on their potential, price, transport distance and logistics, and prioritizing the most natural and durable. As a result, most materials for the GreenHouse were found either on-site or at neighboring properties. Superuse method is adaptive; many details were not pre-defined but created during the construction process, adapting to the chosen materials and their peculiarities. 

↑ Details of the reused wooden beams exposed in the winter garden.

As a result, most materials for the GreenHouse were found either on-site or at neighboring properties. Superuse method is adaptive; many details were not pre-defined but created during the construction process, adapting to the chosen materials and their peculiarities. 

The wooden skeleton, efficiently upcycled, offered flexibility for DIY construction, layout variants, and reuse. All materials were harvested from local businesses and farmers. The attached greenhouse has been reinforced with standard greenhouse materials such that it complies with building regulations. Implementing passive climatisation approaches with optimal orientation, sizing and zoning, thick insulation, and the mass of clay flooring, two mass-heaters, and 16 PV/warm water panels are more than enough added technology to create a comfortable living environment.

↑Image slider: selected horizontal photos of the winter garden.

Durability and low energy consumption

The house is designed and built to be adaptable and last for many generations. It can breathe thanks to the straw/clay walls, it is naturally ventilated, and it supplies electricity, resulting in only a short wood heating season being needed. Positioning, orientation, size, and shape are fine-tuned to optimize the internal climate across the seasons.

Sun, shadow, and prevailing winds analysis were taken into account when locating the GreenHouse on the property. Low vegetation on the north facade enhances privacy and cooling ventilation, while a row of trees on the south can provide more shade in the summer. Because of this position, the house warms itself with the low winter sun.

↓ Details: interior views of the ground floor.

↓  Image slider: interior views of the ground floor.

↑Image slider: interior views of the ground floor.

  Single images: interior views of the ground floor and the stair.

Insulation, zoning, buffering reduces heating, cooling and daylighting needs

During the summer period, a cool air flow is created from the shaded north microclimate where windows are minimalized to provide light where needed. The locally sourced highly insulating  straw walls provide insulation the whole year.

Clay was sourced from directly next to the house, applied as a 6 cm layer to the straw bale walls and as a 30cm layer on top of the concrete foundation over the entire ground floor. When appropriately exposed or shaded from the sun’s rays, this thermal mass helps to stabilize the interior temperature by slowly releasing warmth or coolth.

Core living and daytime spaces are buffered from unwanted heat gain or heat loss. Functions needing more daylight and warmth (living, dining, cooking, study, and play) are grouped and zoned towards the natural daylight and warmer southern side. Functions needing less light and warmth (storage, hallways, stairs, bedrooms, and bathrooms) are grouped and zoned toward the darker and cooler northern side and attic.

Fixed insulation

a) Foundation: 2 x 10 cm reused PIR Rc 10 b) Walls: straw bales Rc 7

c) Roof: reused SandwichPanels Rc 9,6.

d) Windows: reused HR+ (U 1.6 Rc 0.6 Movable extra insulation +Rc 1

Shutter, thermal curtains, thermal blinds add an extra Rc value of 1.0 to windows.


The glasshouse acts as climate machine for sun driven ventilation, warming and cooling

When the sun shines, the air in the glasshouse warms quickly, creating a stack effect. The updraft of hot air generated can move either warm or cool air through the house, depending on which window and door vents are opened or closed.

All internal doors have ventilation grills, and all windows have ventilation and two settings to manually regulate the flow of air. 

The glasshouse reduces heat loss from the main house as windows are protected from cooling wind and rain. This increases the insulation value of the southern facade by an additional Rc of 0.2. Combined with individually managed internal thermal curtains, the two layers add an additional Rc of 2 giving a total Rc of 4.2 for the southern facade at night.

Roof installations

 The manual mechanism regulates the aperture of the greenhouse’s glass windows.

In addition to the thermal mass and insulation, low-tech solutions such as sun shading and roof windows can be adapted to the weather. After an extended study, S.os is now developing automation that can assist the inhabitants with the harvesting of direct sun, for passive heating or shading.

Image slider: details of the adopted climatic solutions.

 ← ROOF INSTALLATIONS The building is oriented 3 degrees east of solar south and with a 25-degree inclination of the southern roof to maximize direct solar gain in winter:

– 16 solar PV panels provide electricity for the GreenHouse as well as for a neighboring house. 

 – 6 x solar tube panels close to the bathrooms provide hot water for living units.


As well as monitoring the climate response of the building after delivery, S.o.s. also provided general guidelines for optimizing the different aspects of the passive climatisation system, such as the addition of shading curtains for the big glass facade, the manual mechanism for roof openings, and other guidelines that prioritize the active use of the passive house design features for a low energy consumption but still comfortable living.

↑  Single images: the stair that leads to the first floor.

↑  Single images: interior views of  the first floor  ↓

↑  In the northern, eastern, and western facades, windows were strategically placed for views, daylight, or ventilation. Roof windows also provide for ventilation and light in key areas such as over the staircases and first-floor bathrooms →





Also the interaction with the landscape was taken into account when placing the windows, creating beautiful views enhanced by the interior’s perspectives  ↓

↑ Single image: detail of the master bedroom in the attic, second floor.

↓ Single image: main view of the winter garden during the summer.

While Superuse is known for reuse, this has been only one aspect of designing sustainable architecture from its start in 1997; Superuse is also investigating other aspects and flows such as energy, water, food, and local economies. GreenHouse and the local community have been the perfect project to implement this interaction of disciplines, based on more than two decades of Superuse’s experience with workshops and project management.

Superuse on site’s Superuse on site’s core team: Césare Peeren, Mel Feldmuller, Frank Feder.

The process was made possible due to a core action of team building, where clients, architects, and volunteers cooperate over the long term: a common effort that resulted in added social value based on commitment, cooperation and learning.

After a long restoration, we are proud to present the end result of Superuse co-founder Césare Peeren’s home. A beautiful example of how our cities could evolve, re-using pre-existing housing and local material flows.

Superused Home

Superused Home

After a long restoration, we are proud to present the end result of Superuse co-founder Césare Peeren’s home. A beautiful example of how our cities could evolve, re-using pre-existing housing and local material flows. Starting from the ’90s, thanks to cooperation between the municipality and private owner, the street’s new inhabitants managed to save the whole housing complex. Césare’s house has resulted in an organic assembling of elements and materials from other Superuse ‘s projects realized during the following two decades, implementing flows of re-used materials into the renovation process.

While this portfolio includes a small selection of photographs, you might want to see the extended preview ; the link is also at the end of the page.

The whole housing complex along the east side of the Gerald Scholtenstraat in Rotterdam’s northern part resume today three decades of community efforts. Where inhabitants joined forces to save the heritage value of the street.

The communal approach is also expressed in the collaboration between Césare and his neighbor Hugo; a master of crafts in building and interiors who has been an essential ingredient to complete the restoration, sharing both efforts, knowledge, and investments.

↑ Above image slider: Césare Peeren and Hugo Lammerink during the finishing of the garden’s facade.

“It is made with the waste of the waste of the waste,”

↑  Quote from the interview with Césare Peeren, June 2019.

For example, the garden’s facade’s insulation has been realized upcycling Trespa plates leftover from the other two projects. Initially, the gray panels were office desks dismantled from a bank in Rotterdam around 2009. The material was mainly reused for the DortYart project.

DortYart Art Center | Dordrecht NL | Design by Superuse | Photo © Denis Guzzo

Superused Home’s exterior views

↑  Image slider: the street views of the house. 

Respecting the historical aesthetics and local regulations, the house has been maintained in its original look at the street side, while it has been reinterpreted at the garden’s side.

With the same approach, the roof has been regenerated by re-using the old shingles by composing the house’s number ’98’ in its front facade.

To complete the rest of the surface, Césare used insulating panels that were left overs or slightly damaged, saving around 2/3 on the normal retail price. The different colours creates a patchwork that includes semi-transparent panels to increase the amount of light coming into the attic.

↑↓ Single images: details of the Superused Home’s roof ↑↓

Superused Home is intended to be able to host many people within a community-based living style. On the third floor, the attic is designed as an open space living unit, connected by a long stair to the ground floor.

Being the building divided into two families, both restoration process and design have been implemented commonly. Next to the aesthetics approach, the larger insulation layer widely improves the climactic action.

↑↓  Selected vertical views of the garden’s side off the Superused home  © Denis Guzzo 2020 ↑↓

↑↓  Selected vertical views of the garden’s side off the Superused home  © Denis Guzzo 2020 ↑↓

↑  Image slider:  Superused Home from the back garden © Denis Guzzo 2020 

 Single image: layered functions, a night view from the back garden  © Denis Guzzo 2020


  Image Slider: ground floor of the Superused Home.

↑↓ Single images: a huge vertical door illuminates both kitchen and office floors: daylight has been amplified by using a mirroring metal sheet on one side. During summer the reflecting curtain provides extra isolation from the heat of the sun.

↓↑ Single images: the kitchen and the office sharing the garden’s view.

Above Image Slider: ground floor of the Superused Home during nocturnal good vibes.


↑  Image slider: the first floor of the Superused Home.

↓ Single image: selected night view of the office area on the first floor.


↑  Image slider: views and details of the main bathroom.



A shatterproof glass window repurposed as an integral part of the laundry room’s floor: definitely the scariest but also most fascinating detail of the house. It allows most of the light gained by the upper windows to illuminate the lower floors, with a focus on the office’s table on the first floor, positioned to overview the huge back door and the garden.

↑  Image slider: details of the laundry’s floor with the integrated lighting solution.


↑  Single image: the red room facing the back garden on the second floor.

  Image slider: details of the red room.


↑  Image slider: the blue room on the street’s side on the second floor.

  Single image: a detail of the blue room revealing Supersue’s approach to industrial waste.



  • 97 % RENEWABLE ENERGY 97% 97%

Combining older-generation solar panels with new ones, energy is harvested from the roof and the balcony installations.

By choosing low-consumption home appliances, the attic’s living unit can run almost entirely driven by solar energy and passive climatic solutions.

The solar panel on the new structure are harvesting sunlight but at the same time are shading the interiors and protect the door and windows from direct rain.



Rainwater is a precious resource in terms of food production and house holding. The house is provided with three collecting silos: one on the attic’s balcony and two in the garden.

For the happiness of the vegetables and herbs grown on the balcony, a huge PCV tube section was fitted under a bench, collecting the water from the roof.

Further water collection is diverted to the garden’s container.

↑  Image slider: the attic’s balcony with the summer’s cultivation of vegetables and herbs. in progress:

The attic’s living unit is still being finished, stay tuned for future updates!

The Re-Use Atlas: A Designer’s Guide Towards a Circular Economy

The Re-Use Atlas: A Designer’s Guide Towards a Circular Economy

This book is a highly illustrated ‘atlas’, taking the reader on a journey via four distinct ‘steps’ (recycling, reuse, reduce, closed loop), from a linear economy towards a system emulating the natural world, i.e. a circular economy.  Featuring over 25 inspiring case studies describing design exemplars from the worlds of textile and fashion design, product design, architecture and urban design, this book’s purpose is to show designers how they can help dramatically reduce the negative impact humans have on Planet Earth by successfully navigating the emerging fields of resource management and the circular economy.

Each step is supplemented with an in depth interview with an expert who is successfully tackling one or more of these challenges that present all designers today and includes contributory essays from, among others, Professor Walter Stahel of the Product-Life Institute, and Professor Jonathan Chapman, author of ‘Emotionally Durable Design’.

Publisher RIBA Publishing
ISBN 9781859466445
Format Paperback
Language English
Pages 192
Date Published Apr 2017

Reuse is common sense: FCRBE campaign

Reuse is common sense: FCRBE campaign

Source text and video courtesy of:

FCRBE : Interreg : 

Reuse of building elements: will it soon be the norm in Europe?

Today in NW-Europe, only 1% of building elements are reused following their first application. Although a large number of elements are technically reusable, they end up being recycled by crushing or melting, or disposed. The result is a high environmental impact and a net loss of economic value. 

This project aims to increase by +50% the amount of reclaimed building elements being circulated on its territory by 2032.

Focusing on the northern half of France, Belgium, and the UK, the project also covers, with lesser intensity, the Netherlands, Ireland, the rest of France, and Luxembourg. This area houses thousands of SMEs specialized in the reclamation and supply of reusable building elements. Despite their obvious potential for the circular economy, these operators face significant challenges: visibility, access to meaningful projects and integration in contemporary building practices. Today, the flow of recirculated goods stagnate and may even decrease due to a lack of structured efforts.

To respond appropriately to these challenges, the project sets up an international partnership involving specialised organisations, trade associations, research centres, an architecture school and public administrations. It is rooted in earlier initiatives that were successfully initiated, on a local level.

These tools will be tested and promoted through 36 pilot operations taking place in large (de)construction projects, whereby more than 360 tons of elements will be reused. Effective communication efforts towards the stakeholders of the construction industry (including public authorities) will facilitate a smooth integration of these outputs into field practices and policies.


Source text and video courtesy of:

FCRBE : | Interreg : 

ReWind LGBTQI+ Monument

ReWind LGBTQI+ Monument

Watch the short documentary and discover how the synergy of various professionals and organizations created this amazing intervention of place-making.

“I think it’s an interesting way of thinking, too, for municipalities, to look at: “what do we actually have?” ..and every time we think: “We want the square differently”.. We could also think: “Can we do that with the ingredients that are already there?”

From the interview with Césare Peeren, ReWind LGBTQI+ Monument short documentary, June 2020.

ReWind LGBTQI+ Monument

A 12 minutes short documentary written, filmed, and edited by Denis Guzzo.

With: Monique Marijnissen, Césare Peeren, David Louf, Marjolijn van der Meijden, Talitha Nöllen and Gert-Jan Verboom as representatives of the LHBTI community of Rotterdam.

Languages: Dutch spoken | English subtitles | Commissioned by: Centre for Visual Arts (CBK) Rotterdam | Art & public space, Marjolijn van der Meijden | In cooperation with: initiators LGBTI monument for sexual- en gender diversity Rotterdam, Talitha Nöllen, Gert-Jan Verboom | ReWind LGBTIQ place-making: commissioned by Municipality of Rotterdam | Monique Marijnissen | Design ReWind: Superuse | Césare Peeren | Painting ReWind: David Louf / Mr June | Soundtracks: HUMAN – Sevdaliza Courtesy of MAKTUB & Full Crate | Japanese Suvenir by DeKibo, Premium beat | Subtitles translation: Tirsa With.

Follow a full photo reportage that display ‘before’, ‘during’ and ‘after’ the process of  place-making

It was 2012 while Rem Koolhaas’s Vertical City was being completed at the Maas river’s waterfront in Rotterdam; I have started the documentation of one of the most surprising designs I have ever seen in public space so far. Designed by Superuse, the ReWind urban bench at Willemsplein recalls a beautiful statement: “think big act small.” The object consists of reused discarded-windmills’ blades while the concrete blocks are made of 90% of recycled concrete material from local demolitions.

Above & below: the aerial views of ReWind at Willemsplein, Rotterdam ©  Denis Guzzo | 2012

Explore the complete series from 2012 on the postRE-USE.EU/BLADE MADE

While wind power has developed rapidly over the past years, many first-generation wind turbines’ economic life cycle is coming to an end. The latest research shows that, by 2050, we will face around 43 million tonnes of wind-turbine blade material waste worldwide.

On June 3rd, 2020, the blade-made object ReWind was placed back on Willemsplein, Rotterdam, with a strikingly colorful new look. Graphic designer and street painter David Louf a.k.a. Mr. June, made the design in collaboration with the Rotterdam group from the LGBTQI+ community and with the designer of ReWind, architect Césare Peeren.

RePainting ReWind by Mr June

Since 1985, David Louf has been operating under Mr. June’s name as an artist, street artist, graphic designer. At the age of 14, he was part of the hip-hop movement and performed as a breakdancer. After his studies at the Utrecht School of the Arts, he quickly named himself a graphic designer.

The street’s freedom turned out to be more attractive, and he has been one of the most famous street artists for quite some time. Worldwide he has provided buildings, floors, and facades with optical patterns. Via Césare Peeren, architect at Superuse Mr. June was introduced to the group of Rotterdammers from the LGBTQI + community, the monument’s initiators to sexual and gender diversity.

Above Image Slider: Mr.June painting ReWind inside the barn of a farm in the countryside of Rotterdam © Denis Guzzo 2020

ReWind installation

Above Image Slider: selected horizontal photos from the installation series.

Below: two selected photos from the installation series.

ReWind LGBTQI+ Monument

Above single image: vertical view of the newly installed ReWind | © Denis Guzzo 2020

Above Image Slider: selected vertical views of the newly installed ReWind | © Denis Guzzo 2020

Above Image Slider: selected horizontal views of the newly installed ReWind | © Denis Guzzo 2020

Learn more about the art and science of building with rotor blades

The post Blade Made shares the same title with the brochure created by Superuse regarding their projects realized by reusing discarded windmills blades.

The post includes an extended photo series and represents a compelling example of how we can transform our cities by reutilizing these extraordinary structural objects.

REUSE eBook by Macarthur Foundation

REUSE eBook by Macarthur Foundation

Reuse – Rethinking packaging, free eBook

Converting 20% of plastic packaging into reuse models is a USD 10 billion business opportunity that benefits customers and represents a crucial element in the quest to eliminate plastic waste and pollution.

This new release from the New Plastics Economy team provides a framework to understand reuse models by identifying six major benefits of reuse, and mapping 69 reuse examples. Based on an evaluation of more than 100 initiatives, and interviews with over 50 experts, it aims to inspire and help structure thinking. Reuse – Rethinking Packaging provides a basic description of how different reuse models work as well as typical implementation challenges.

It is not intended to be a detailed how-to implementation guide. The focus of this initial work is on packaging solutions in business-to-consumer (B2C) applications. While there certainly are many reuse opportunities in business-to-business (B2B) applications, these are generally better understood and adopted at scale already.

DOWNLOAD HERE the free eBook by Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Viisi Circular Office Design

Viisi Circular Office Design

Sponsored  by :

Between 2015 and 2016 pioneer architect Césare Peeren designed and realized part of the new interiors for VIISI’s headquarter, an ambitious and innovative company based in Amsterdam. At the end of 2016, the project won the Desko Circular Design Award powered by Desko.

A worn-out bowling alley floor, deadstock Trespa tabletops, vintage lamps, and ‘heraklith’ acoustic system ceiling panels were redesigned to give a sustainable yet classy looking ‘living room for academics’. The space is used both as a lunchtime canteen and evening seminar room.

This portfolio shows a broad insight during the different production steps: where the materials came from and how they have been treated and upcycled.

Divided in #10 main photo series, this reportage highlights the Superuse design practice with an accent on the craftsmanship of these fantastic makers: an homage to the master of crafts, their dedication, their ability to transform something that was discarded into innovative and beautiful designs.













Above image slider: Viisi’s headquarter in Amsterdam and the spaces before the intervention.


Built at the South East suburbia of Amsterdam at the beginning of the eighties, this building was demolished only a few weeks after the Superuse team performed the Material Harvest.

Nowadays, buildings are considered more as material storage, and therefore the best practice is that of providing the building with a material passport; increasing the value, or keeping the value of materials, products and components over time.

Above image slider: one of the locations where the Superuse team has been harvesting the materials.

The number of resources that such a complex can deliver would be actually enough to re-construct a small village off the grid.

Viisi’s new canteen project used a tiny part of the old sealing insulation, but it can be seen as a statement of how we could give a new life by smart deconstruction processes and re-designing.

Cèsare Peeren removing samples that will be later implemented as sound insulation for the Viisi’s canteen sealing.


Above image slider: a warehouse in the countryside outside Amsterdam, where the bowling halley floor was found thanks to Daan Spanjers.


Above image slider: the dead stock of Trespa found in Zaandam, the north of Amsterdam. According to previous projects’ s experience, the material can be sandblasted with stencils to refresh the esthetics with patterns that also provide the anti-slip function.


After harvesting the materials around Amsterdam, the selection has been displayed at the Superused House in Rotterdam.

Meanwhile, the design process has been executed according to the materials that were found; further selected and applied considering assignment’s need and fine-tuning the choices together with the client.

Samples were tested in terms of assembly possibilities. Options regarding treatments, such colors and textures have been also tested and evaluated before making the final choices.

Above image slider: the materials collected for the project.


The bowling alley floor has been up-cycled to become VIISI’s canteen tables, one of the most prominent features.

Metal frames reinforce the joints and provide a solid structure for smaller side-tables, which will be created with the same material as the floor due to the abundance of the found dead stock.

← Left: Cèsare Peeren visiting Roel de Boer, the builder of the first prototype for main tables,  in his workshop at the Northern district of Amsterdam.

Above image slider: at Superuse Lab the tables being made by Pieter De jong


Above image slider: some sketches of the new canteen;  the pattern that will be applied by sandblasting the Trespa plates has been created by repeating the company’s name.

Above image slider: testing different kinds of coatings to treat the new floor.

Below image slider: the prototype was installed at the Circular Design Award exhibition.

Above single image: the prototype was installed at the Circular Design Award exhibition.


Above image slider: everything comes finally together at VIISI’s canteen with Ken Wright and his team and Pieter de Jong / Superuse Lab.

Below: Details of the materials ready to be installed.

Above: selected horizontal photo from the building process. 


Found at the old Heineken first brewery and attached office building, the lamps have been saved before renovation works.

Probably from the sixties, they have been refurbished and provided with modern cabling and low energy consumption bulbs.

 The lamps have been installed across the whole floor of VIISI’s headquarter.


Above image slider: Césare Peeren refurbishing the lamps.

Below image slider: the Superuse Lab team installing the lamps.


Sponsored  by :

Above: the founders of  Viisi BV. From left to right: Frank Tukker, Hendrik Schakel, Hergen Dutrieux, Tom van der Lubbe to whom I am very grateful for sponsoring this documentation process and for all I have learned by working with and for them. Denis Guzzo

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The Architecture of Waste

The Architecture of Waste

The Architecture of Waste

Design for a Circular Economy

Image and text courtesy of the Publisher
Publisher: Routledge
Paperback: 306 Pages
Language: English
ISBN: 9780367247454

Edited By Caroline O’Donnell, Dillon Pranger

Global material crises are imminent. In the very near future, recycling will no longer be a choice made by those concerned about the environment, but a necessity for all. This means a paradigm shift in domestic behavior, manufacturing, construction, and design is inevitable. The Architecture of Waste provides a hopeful outlook through examining current recycling practices, rethinking initial manufacturing techniques, and proposing design solutions for second lives of material-objects.

The book touches on a variety of inescapable issues beyond our global waste crisis including cultural psyches, politics, economics, manufacturing, marketing, and material science. A series of crucial perspectives from experts cover these topics and frames the research by providing a past, present, and future look at how we got here and where we go next: the historical, the material, and the design. Twelve design proposals look beyond the simple application of recycled and waste materials in architecture—an admirable endeavor but one that does not engage the urgent reality of a circular economy—by aiming to transform familiar, yet flawed, material-objects into closed-loop resources.

Complete with over 150 color images and written for both professionals and students, The Architecture of Waste is a necessary reference for rethinking the traditional role of the architect and challenging the discipline to address urgent material issues within the larger design process.

Table of Contents


1. Global Circularity

2. Waste of Space

3. Case Studies

4. New Deconstruction: The Rebirth of a Circular Architecture

5. Economics for a Circular Environment

6. World of Waste


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RE–USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse

RE–USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse

RE–USA: 20 American Stories of Adaptive Reuse

A Toolkit for Post-Industrial Cities

Matteo Robiglio

Image and text courtesy of the Publisher
Publisher: Jovis Publishers
Softcover: 14.4 x 20.2 cm
240 pages with approx. 230 col. and plans
Language: English
ISBN-10: 978-3-86859-473-7

Adaptive reuse – the process of repairing and restoring existing buildings for new or continued use – is becoming an essential part of architectural practice. As mounting demographic, economic, and ecological challenges limit opportunities for new construction, architects increasingly focus on transforming and adapting existing buildings.


Based on best-practice examples in American cities such as Detroit, New York, or Pittsburgh, this book shows successful cases of adaptive reuse that preserve the legacy of the industrial past while turning it into a key ingredient for urban regeneration. An aquaponics farm in a former meatpacking facility or a freight train railroad converted into a linear park: these are just two successful examples of the creative and effective reuse of abandoned industrial infrastructure. Culture, leisure, sport, research, education, design, services, production, housing, and even agriculture regenerate former factory sites and upgrade cities economically and culturally.
Eight steps guide the way through the process of adaptive reuse—from choosing an existing site to the vision, design, and funding, and finally their implementation. Professionals, activists, decision-makers, as well as entrepreneurs and committed citizens worldwide are therefore provided with a practical toolkit to discovering the unused potential of their city.


About the Author

Matteo Robiglio is an architect and urban designer. He is a full professor at Politecnico di Torino. After 20 years of practice in community architecture and urban regeneration with Avventura Urbana, he founded in 2011 with Isabelle Toussaint the office TRA (lit.: in-between). In 2014 TRA and the community foundation Benvenuti in Italia jointly founded the non-profit social innovation start-up HOMERS, recognized as Polito spin-off, promoting bottom-up cohousing projects for the reuse of abandoned buildings. He was a member of the Scientific Committee of the Centre for African Studies, of Rebuild and of the recovery project of Giancarlo De Carlo’s University Colleges in Urbino of the Getty Foundation. He is a German Marshall Fellow in Urban and Regional Studies. He has also been a visiting lecturer in many universities such as the Carnegie Mellon of Pittsburgh, the Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University in Suzhou, the Technion of Haifa, and the MIT in Boston.

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RE-USE.EU NAPOLI Seminar & Workshops

RE-USE.EU NAPOLI Seminar & Workshops

The team of RE-USE.EU test run of our educational module in Napoli, Italy. The lecture and following workshops have been organized in collaboration with Archintorno, a local bureau of architects dedicated to the city’s regeneration.

The team of RE-USE.EU, has managed the program and designed the communication regarding the three stages of the initiative called RIUSO e AUTOCOSTRUZIONE.

Lead by architects Andrea Abita and Clara Bernardo, the activities took place in the fantastic location called ‘Le Scalze,’ the vacant church of S.Giuseppe at Pontecorvo. After staying vacant for many years, the building was damaged during an earthquake and became headquarter of associations devolved to citizens’ initiatives.

Archintorno has been focusing on regenerating the spaces according to the needs of the local community. A beautiful example is the rehearsal room, which was realized with a site specif acoustic study using only upcycled materials.

Above: the rehearsal room designed and built by Andrea Abita in collaboration with Archintorno.

RE-USE.EU & ]Archintorno[

The lecture and workshops have been divided into different modules, starting from the lecture’s theoretical approach in June, stretching until September with the practical workshops.
The workshop aimed to upgrade Archintorno’s headquarters’ space, a space at the upper floor of the church’s complex, with new interiors realized with locally harvested materials. The challenge consisted of creating foldable or quickly-assemblable tables and seats to support the activities within Archintorno’s limited space.

Above: the table ‘Tavolo448’ is a first example of the design approach realized by architect Andrea Abita in collaboration with Archintorno.


Introduced by Andrea Abita, Archintorno, the seminar approached the theme of reuse in architecture and design divided into three modules:

 .Inspirational session led by Denis Guzzo, which introduced creative reuse across history and cultures, showing an overview of documented projects and best practices.

.Intervention by Antonio Cerbone, president of the Regional Bound of Architects.

.Intervention by Paola Manfredi, RE MIDA, Napoli. 

.Regulatory session by Ph.D. Paola Altamura explained recent developments in regulations regarding reuse in architecture with several comparisons between European directives and Italian rules.

.Introduction to material harvest by Elisa Saturno, introducing the concept of adaptive design and the approach to geo-tagged material harvest platforms.



Above: an overview of the day of the seminar at ‘Le Scalze’, Napoli.


The following weeks have been characterized by intensive group research, devolved to harvest the potential source of materials to be further implemented in design and prototyping.

Above: lead by architect Andrea Abita and Elisa Saturno, a new catalog has been compiled, dividing different elemets and materials by characteristics and possible applications.


Also thanks to a call for materials across social media platforms some resources were found quickly.

Blade Made

Blade Made

At Superuse, waste rotor blades are seen as structural and aesthetic elements for large scale, worldwide use in design and architecture. Blade made designs reduce wind energy waste and provide an opportunity for later recovery of valuable composite materials.

If only 5% of The Netherlands’ yearly production of urban furniture such as playgrounds, public seating, and bus shelters were made using waste rotor blades, then all of The Netherlands’ estimated 400* waste rotor blades produced annually would be removed from the waste stream.

(* ~2000 wind turbines, assuming 15-year blade lifespan)

☢︎ = 1000 MW = ±10 tonne composite material

Latest research shows that we will face around 43 million tonnes of wind turbine blade material waste worldwide (Liu, P., 2017)

“Architects can play a fundamental role by using waste, and what’s more, ingenuity, to convert waste into structures that are useful, imaginative, and beautiful.”

Bahamón and Sa njinés 2010

Rematerial: From Waste to Architecture

Text: Superuse | Photography: © Denis Guzzo

a playground with added value and a smaller ecological footprint built for the same price as a comparable standard playground

The first ‘Wikado’ built at the Meidoorn playground at Old block at the North of Rotterdam, was built for the same budget as a comparable standard playground and has an ecological footprint fifty times smaller. The WIKADO playground was the winner of the 2009 European Environmental Design Award.

Above: aerial view of the Wikado playground designed by Superuse  © Denis Guzzo

The playground was designed to maximize imaginatively play, social interaction, and children driven game development. The inherent properties of rotor blades make this material an excellent choice: weather and wind resistant; organic, ergonomic shapes; and a strong and a rigid structure. The cylindrical portion of 30m long blades has a diameter of 1.4m and makes for interior play spaces. One of the five 30m blades was used intact.

The remaining four blades were cut into three sections. The four cylindrical end sections were transformed into play towers that stand around the central play zone. Each tower has a distinct and recognizable character: the ‘tower flat’ has three rooms with peeking holes; the ‘watchtower’ with a former F16 cockpit on top; the ‘water tower’ with a hand pump for children to pump water for mixing with sand; and, the ‘slide tower’ to which the original slippery slides from the site is attached.

The intact blade and remaining cut sections were overlaid as if pick-up-sticks in the classic children’s game ‘Mikado’. And indeed, the name ‘Wikado’ is derived from ‘Mikado’, and the
The Dutch word ‘wiek’ for rotor blades.

The overlaid blades give diversity of play spaces for toddlers through to older children and allows for different types of play activities. It creates a labyrinth in which children can endlessly chase each other, while also creating sheltered and interior spaces for other kinds of play.

Tensioned netting strung between the 4 towers is for climbing and also functions to create a play space for street football (the PannaVeld)

The the surface of the PannaVeld is made of ‘Nike gravel’, a flooring developed by Nike sports from shredded sneakers.

Above: the main view of the Wikado Playground designed by Superuse  © Denis Guzzo
Below: image slider with the photo series © Denis Guzzo

ReWind Almere

a durable and indestructible shelter

Designed shelters for the thousands of daily commuters to use the bus-train transfer station at Almere Poort. The durable and indestructible shelter design uses four 30m rotor blades. Waste rotor blades are easy to find in Almere, Holland’s #1 wind-energy region. Stacked in a Stonehenge like manner, two 30m blades are used to create a large shelter. Two of these large shelters are being built. The changing shape over the blades’ length gives a shelter roof that morphs into different forms depending on the angle from which it is viewed. Every part of the blade is used.

The blades were cut into four sections to harness the different inherent qualities along the blade’s length. This gives construction pieces that are essentially readymade for various construction purposes.

The strongest and heaviest part (former connection to the wind turbine axial) is used as roof supporting columns and the widest part of the roof’s blade. The blade’s tip is used for the long seating bench, and the circular end pieces are used for large planting pots placed around the site.

Above: the bus stop shelters at Almere Poort’s station designed by Superuse  © Denis Guzzo

ReWind Rotterdam

a seating with iconic quality

↑↓   ReWind at Willemsplein, Rotterdam

© Denis Guzzo 2012

The ReWind public seating is located at Willemsplein, a public square at the foot of the well-known Erasmus bridge; a public seating made from rotor blades was designed and installed for the Rotterdam municipality with joint funding from Joulz Energy Company.

The municipality were in need of durable, indestructible seating with iconic quality for people waiting to board harbour tour boats, but which could also be temporarily removed, when necessary, to make room for public events.

 Nine rotor blades from Friesland destined for incineration were used. 5 blades were used for seating, 3 as backrests, and 1 as place marker. By adjusting the angles and positions of the blades ergonomic public seating with a diversity of seating options was created. Seating depths vary from ±30cm to ±80cm, providing upright seating to more relaxed lounging options. The ±6m long blades, originally manufactured by Stork, are attached with bolts to 1m3 concrete aggregate blocks made heavy enough to keep the lightweight blades in place. The aggregate is 90% recycled concrete rubble from Rotterdam.

 The blocks have a pentagon footprint with a skewed 3D form that changes shape from different viewing angles. The tops of the blocks are oblique which puts the upright place marker blade at a slight angle, making it stand out against the predominantly vertical elements on the square.

 All blades were painted signal red, to bring colour to the stark grey surroundings of Willemsplein and to pick up on the red of Willemsbrug that can be seen further down the river.


Above: the main view of theReWind designed by Superuse  © Denis Guzzo
Below: detail of one of the concrete blocks holding the rotor blades.

selected horizontal photos of the ReWind at Willemsplein, Rotterdam | Denis Guzzo ©

Did you know?

In 2020 ReWind at Willemsplein in Rotterdam has been repainted and became a monument!

Find out more about the process of place-making that made possible the REUSE of the ReWind to become the new monument for Rotterdam’s sexual diversity.

The post includes the short documentary 12′ produced by Denis Guzzo for CBKRdam and the photo series of this intervention’s different steps.

Find out more on the post!  →

Resource Salvation: The Architecture of Reuse

Resource Salvation: The Architecture of Reuse


A valuable source of information, insight, and fresh ideas about a crucial aspect of the growing sustainable design movement

Author: Mark Gorgolewski

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
296 Pages paperback

eBook & oBook available

ISBN: 978-1-118-92877-6

Mounting resource shortages worldwide coupled with skyrocketing extraction costs for new materials have made the prospect of materials reuse and recycling an issue of paramount importance. A fundamental goal of the sustainable design movement is to derive utmost use from construction materials and components, including energy, water, materials, building components, whole structures, and even entire infrastructures. Written by an expert with many years of experience in both industry and academe, this book explores a wide range of sustainable design strategies which designers around the globe are using to create efficient and aesthetically pleasing buildings from waste streams and discarded items. Emphasizing performance issues, design considerations and process constraints, it describes numerous fully realized projects, and explores theoretical applications still on the drawing board.

There is a growing awareness worldwide of the need for cyclical systems of materials reuse. Pioneering efforts at “closed-loop” design date as far back as 1960s, but only recently have architects and designers begun to focus on the opportunities which discarded materials can provide for creating high performance structures. A source of insight and fresh ideas for architects, engineers, and designers, Resource Salvation:

  • Reviews the theory and practice of building material and waste reuse and describes best practices in that area worldwide
  • Describes projects that use closed-loop thinking to influence and inspire the design of components, interiors, whole buildings, or urban landscapes
  • Illustrates how using discarded materials and focusing on closed loops can lead to new concepts in architecture, building science, and urban design
  • Demonstrates how designers have developed aesthetically compelling solutions to the demands of rigorous performance standards 

Resource Salvation is a source of information and inspiration for architects, civil engineers, green building professionals, building materials suppliers, landscape designers, urban designers, and government policymakers. It is certain to become required reading in university courses in sustainable architecture, as well as materials engineering and environmental engineering curricula with a sustainable design component. 

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Adaptive Reuse of the Built Heritage

Adaptive Reuse of the Built Heritage


Concepts and Cases of an Emerging Discipline

Image and text courtesy of the Publisher
Publisher : Routledge
Paperback : 256 pages
Language: English
ISBN-10 : 1138062766

Adaptive reuse – the process of repairing and restoring existing buildings for new or continued use – is becoming an essential part of architectural practice. As mounting demographic, economic, and ecological challenges limit opportunities for new construction, architects increasingly focus on transforming and adapting existing buildings.

This book introduces adaptive reuse as a new discipline. It provides students and professionals with the understanding and the tools they need to develop innovative and creative approaches, helping them to rethink and redesign existing buildings – a skill which is becoming more and more important. Part I outlines the history of adaptive reuse and explains the concepts and methods that lie behind new design processes and contemporary practice. Part II consists of a wide range of case studies, representing different time periods and strategies for intervention. Iconic adaptive reuse projects such as the Caixa Forum in Madrid and the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam are discussed alongside less famous and spontaneous transformations such as the Kunsthaus Tacheles in Berlin, in addition to projects from Italy, Spain, Croatia, Belgium, Poland, and the USA.

Featuring over 100 high-quality color illustrations, Adaptive Reuse of the Built Heritage is essential reading for students and professionals in architecture, interior design, heritage conservation, and urban planning.


About the Authors

Bie Plevoets holds a PhD in architecture and works on theory of adaptive reuse in the research group Trace – Adaptive Reuse and Heritage in the Faculty of Architecture and Arts at Hasselt University, Belgium. She teaches courses on adaptive reuse at BA and MA levels.

Koenraad Van Cleempoel is Professor of Art History in the Faculty of Architecture and Arts at Hasselt University, Belgium, where he is also a member of the research group Trace. He was previously holder of the Pieter Paul Rubens Chair at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

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Zero Waste Building

Zero Waste Building


Duration: 10 minutes | Languages: Italian spoken with English subtitles


The short documentary ‘Zero-waste building’ quotes the title of the book published in 2016 by the protagonist Paola Altamura, Ph.D. architect at “Sapienza” the University of Rome, co-founder of the Atlante Inerti Project.


The documentary gives a broad overview of regulatory limitations and some examples of the potential for reuse in the industrial and design fields.

The interview was filmed within a context that sees the author involved within the European network to expand the Harvest Map in the area around Milan.

Thanks to the commitment of companies, institutions, and the synergy of Italian researchers and designers, we can bring to the public and the political world issues and examples of virtuous projects that allow us to continue the discussion on reuse and related regulations.

‘Superuse’ is cited as a term that identifies the long path of research and experimentation carried out by Superuse: the well-known Rotterdam studio: pioneers who have contributed to changing the perception of ‘waste’ for more than twenty years into ‘resource.’