From our perspective in a nation and a region marked by over 50 years of rapid urban development, we cannot help but question the environmental impact of potentially harmful construction materials. While the construction industry is big business and therefore prioritizes the financial bottom line over ecological concerns, designers and architects are increasingly using their role in deciding what materials are used to take the lead in today’s debate on ethical and sustainable architecture.
As a part of Sharjah Architecture Triennial’s mission to contribute to a more environmentally- informed approach to design and architecture, we are launching a new programme SAT Talks: Re-materialize that delves into the world of recycled alternatives to the often toxic and unsustainable materials widely used in architecture and construction. Launching in October 2021 with a first series of videos, Re-materialize follows the production of three recycled materials currently accessible to local and regional environmentally-minded designers.
Through interviews with the creators of recycled materials and site visits to their factories and laboratories, we meet: Ziad Abi Chaker, an environmental engineer who recycles a number of materials collected in his town of Beit Mery and other regions of Lebanon, Ghassan Afiouni, chemist and founder of Steel Wood which makes boards made of recycled wood collected all over the UAE, and Dr.Nicolas Calvet, physicist, engineer and founder of Seramic, a lab that experiments with ceramic tiles created from a variety of recycled materials.
The on-going SAT Talks: Re-materialize programme examines the challenges and opportunities in choosing recycled materials, the social and environmental impact of using recycled materials and explores how sustainable practices could be introduced in today’s design and architecture fields.