Wasted opportunities: Developing resiliency in architecture through ecosystem biomimicry

  • YEAR
    Balle, Brad
    McConchie, Graeme
    2010 Conference Papers


ABSTRACT: Surplus buildings are frequently demolished and replaced under the assumption that it is
cheaper to replace than adapt. The demolished building becomes waste material, usually ending up in
landfills. Yet in nature discarded waste does not exist – it instead becomes ‘food’ for other flora and
fauna. So too can surplus artificial waste become ‘food’ for new construction, thereby prolonging the
life-cycle of materials by seeking new opportunities for their reinvestment in a building.
We can therefore rethink a building as a long-duration work-in-progress, constantly developing and
changing incrementally under evolving contexts. This would require buildings to be regarded as
readily susceptible, not resistant, to adaptation and growth. The energy-conservative re-use of an
existing building and materials represents a positive response to the environmental sustainability
imperative. Yet, whilst gently adding layers and texture over time through gradual, incremental growth,
this re-use paradigm also ensures a continuing social familiarity with the urban landscape and the
sustainability of associated memory


To top