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.”
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.
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.
a seating with iconic quality
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.
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.