Ghaith Abi Ghanem, GHAITH&JAD Architecture and Design, Beirut, Lebanon & Nour Madi, American University of Beirut (AUB), Beirut, Lebanon
A Catalytic Strategy for Recycling Demolition Waste and Continued Civil Engagement Post Disaster
In light of the ongoing unstable situation in Syria and for the purpose of the Research in Practice Grant, Nour Madi opted to redirect her research efforts to her local context; Lebanon. In the case of Lebanon, the war with Israel in 2006 resulted in 6 million m3 of demolition waste, the vast majority of which ended up in temporary disposal sites throughout the country. Moreover, the total quantity of concrete waste in Beirut over the years 2009-2010 due to new construction was around 9,600 Tons. In the same period, according to officials at the municipality of Beirut, 229 buildings were demolished resulting in around 0.53 million tons of reinforced concrete.
As such, Nour Madi aims to research the sustainable construction market in Lebanon through recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) in order to tackle the environmental problems and spread awareness on alternative and sustainable construction. The problems in hand are; diminishing landfilling space due to large quantities of CDW dumping, depletion of natural aggregate for building materials, negative health effects due to the increase in contamination from landfills, damage to the environment and the increase in energy consumption for transportation and manufacturing new materials. Recycling of demolition waste takes care of illegal and haphazard dumping of materials. In particular, it alleviates the pressure exerted on quarries to supply natural aggregates, and extends the lifetime of landfills by reducing the amount of waste disposed.Recovering Aleppo’s Topography (PDF, 10.24 MB) »
The first of four Next Generation prizes in the region went to Heidi van Eeden from South Africa. She is developing new sustainable methods of brickmaking in Soshanguve township, South Africa. The second prize went to Nour Madi, Jad Melki and Ghaith Abi Ghanem from Lebanon. They are investigating ways of rebuilding the war-ravaged city of Aleppo in Syria using the rubble of destroyed buildings. Nada Nafeh from Egypt received the third prize in this category. With her project, she aims to improve living conditions in informal settlements in Cairo. The fourth prize went to Noor Marji of Jordan. She proposes a monumental terraced learning center in Amman, Jordan.Read more »
In the city of Aleppo in Syria, war has indiscriminately destroyed the homes and neighborhoods of many, not to mention the livelihood of entire communities. Addressing the city’s devastation, the project proposes temporary structures embedded within the urban fabric to process concrete from damaged and destroyed buildings into aggregate useable in new construction. The intention is to recycle concrete rubble while reconstructing the city’s social and urban fabric. The so-called “recycling modules” are to be located there where people once lived and are thus dispersed throughout the city, allowing citizens to rebuild their neighborhoods in situ. The proposal relies on civic engagement and offers hope and opportunity for the people of Aleppo to return to their devastated lands. With the support of a humanitarian agency, the project raises awareness on cultural continuity while rebuilding a “lost” city.
The jury applauded the humanitarian tenets at the core of the project – a politically motivated initiative of young designers able to deploy their discipline for reconstructing war-devastated neighborhoods and for alleviating the precarious living conditions of a people under stress. Notwithstanding the overriding qualities of the scheme, the jury wondered whether it would have been possible to re-use the materials on site to build more permanent structures rather than temporary ones that would need to be repeatedly erected and dismantled. This said, the jury nonetheless argued that the proposal is founded on a strong ethical posture that more than simply deserves recognition, rebuilding communities while rebuilding their places to live – an enlightened next generation of architects reversing the senselessness actions of previous generations.
Technical framework and objectives for recycling Aleppo’s emergency waste
The substantial amount of concrete waste generated from regular (non-emergency) construction and demolition works as well as emergency states such as wars and natural disasters poses a great threat to the environment in terms of increase in quarrying demand and diminishing landfilling space. A technical study was conducted and involved estimating construction and demolition quantities, building a GIS model for recycling module siting, and carrying out an economic assessment for the case of Syria. The GIS model considers environmental and transportation objectives as well as a time frame to process all the emergency waste. The competitive price for recycled concrete aggregate alleviates the pressure from quarrying natural aggregate and renders the recycled material an attractive commodity.
The module operational system: Macro versus micro
The proposal holds a modular system that allows it to react flexibly to different locations through site responsive configurations. Eleven modules are to be implemented within Aleppo on seven proposed sites in 100 % damaged zones. Together they inhabit a network of urban voids aiming to rebuild the city from within. On a practical level, it consumes nearby waste, processes it, and transforms it to usable material. On a civic level, it ensures newfound prosperity in local job opportunities while providing a cultural platform for public engagement. Its temporary nature allows it to leave a minimal trace in its context.
Architecture of temporal functional transformation
The architectural quality and aesthetics rethink a conventional recycling facility into an operational modular system consisting of human scale structures. Catering to different functional and spatial zones, its rhythmic planning and proportions complement the neighborhood by creating circulation routes shaped by the adjacent context. The module form is true to its construction method while holding different possibilities of enclosure, thus reconfiguring the constant skeleton into spaces of different experiences. The anchoring foundations of the module on the other hand, are the only permanent elements and are designed in the form of public benches. They are created from the rubble within, envisioning a potential future where the space is reclaimed into a breathing point in the city.See more
Combining the rebuilding of the constructed habitat with the rebuilding of devastated communities, the Rubble recycling …
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