Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg

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Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg

Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Exterior photographyEphemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Exterior photographyEphemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Outdoor Photography, Beam, SteelEphemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Outdoor photography, Brick, Beam+ 17

Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Exterior photography
© Mario Rinke

Design and build with salvaged structural components. The most durable building materials are those we already have. The reuse of what already exists is at the heart of circular construction and a fundamental element of a more sustainable architecture. The two-week design and construction workshop “Ephemeral Permanence 1:1”, part of the 5th International Conference on Structures and Architecture 2022 in Aalborg, Denmark, explored the reuse of building components in as new material and social practice. Strictly adhering to the principles of availability-based design, participants sought design that reflected the architectural and technical potential of reuse by exploring resulting spaces and surprising material perceptions. In addition, to use salvaged materials, the pavilion was designed and built in such a way that the parts could be taken apart and reused elsewhere.

Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Exterior photography
© Mario Rinke
Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Outdoor photography, Brick, Beam
© Mario Rinke

Equipped with a given set of components from various demolition sites, such as light steel columns, bricks, aerated concrete blocks, wooden beams and panels or tiles, the participants first analyzed their technical and architectural properties. They then designed a temporary pavilion serving as a social space at the water’s edge, a stone’s throw from the city center but also from the nearby marina. The design reflects the planned transformation of the site in the coming years, including the expansion of commercial areas in the neighborhood and rising sea levels, but also the growing market for salvaged materials. The pavilion was designed in 2 and built in 7 days by all 11 participants, from various disciplines and different countries, in collaboration with the tutors and with the great support of the AAU FAB LAB team.

Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Outdoor Photography, Beam
© Mario Rinke
Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Image 17 of 17
Axonometric view
Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Outdoor Photography, Fence, Waterfront, Beam, Terrace, Handrail
© Mario Rinke

Beyond its role as an observation platform and meeting place during its 6 weeks of existence, the temporary pavilion served as a 1:1 demonstrator of circularity that highlights the reflexivity of materials and resources. If a building can no longer be used and risks demolition, we must at least recover its components. On a technical level, the major components must be recognized and reintroduced on the market. On the design side, this new, broader notion of materiality pushes towards availability-based design that also shapes the way we decide on shapes, connections, component arrangements and spaces.

Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Outdoor photography, Brick, Beam
© Mario Rinke
Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Exterior photography
© Mario Rinke

So the team developed a regular sturdy skeleton and modular material sets. The steel columns and wooden skeletal elements were clamped together non-destructively with steel clamps only, while the filler materials were connected by simple wooden frames and elastic cords. The quest for circular thinking thus applies at several levels: permanent components to shape ephemeral spaces and functions, understood as ephemeral resources that must be cultivated for a viable sustainable development of the urban environment.

Ephemeral Permanence 1:1 / University of Antwerp + ETH Zürich + University of Aalborg - Outdoor Photography, Beam
© Mario Rinke

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