On their website and social media, MVRDV is dedicating July to the theme of Reuse. The theme encompasses a variety of distinct approaches, including transforming existing buildings for new uses, recycling materials, reprogramming urban areas and infrastructure, and even designing new buildings to better enable reuse in the future.
MVRDV believes that reuse is vitally necessary to move towards a sustainable future: reusing buildings extends their lifespan and avoids the carbon footprint of demolishing and rebuilding; recycling materials reduces the embodied carbon of new construction; and planning with future reuse in mind reduces potential carbon footprint in the future. At the same time, reusing existing structures is a component of social sustainability, creating urban continuity that encourages strong communities and a sense of belonging.
On the other hand, the constraints of working with existing structures need not necessarily lead to conservative designs and preserving the status quo. MVRDV’s transformations have always had a radical edge, with projects in the 2000s including the bold cantilevered apartments of Frøsilo. In recent years, projects such as Concordia Design Wrocław and Stedelijk Museum Schiedam brought sensitive yet bold additions to historic buildings, Tainan Spring and Seoullo 7017 dramatically repurpose defunct parts of the city, and projects like WERK12 create new urban additions that can be used and reused for many decades to come.
With #Reuse Month, MVRDV hopes to spotlight this important technique, showcasing the best of our transformation projects, circular economy techniques, and flexible designs. We aim to start a conversation on the topic and, most importantly, invite other architecture and urbanism professionals to join us in this conversation.