It’s been a while since I’ve taken a look at a structure composed (almost) entirely out of recycled materials that have been spared the landfill and given new life. They don’t come along too often. Today, here’s a trash-built edifice in Paris that’s as simple as it is transcendent.
Designed by young collective Encore Heureux, Circular Pavilion was erected as an architectural statement piece for COP21. And although the U.N. climate talks wrapped up a couple weeks back, the attention-grabbing wood pavilion located right outside of Paris city hall at Place de l'Hôtel de Ville is still generating conversation.
Operated by Pavillon de l’Arsenal, a design-centric exhibition space that describes itself as “a centre for information, documentation and exhibition about urban planning and architecture in Paris and its suburbs,” the installation’s name doesn’t refer to its shape but to its mission: to promote the circular economy — that is, an economy where waste has more lives than your average house cat; an economy in which consumer products, and the materials that they’re made from can be reused and recycled infinitely; an economy where worthless trash doesn’t exist.
Explain the architects:
With this experimental process, we wanted to demonstrate that access to new material deposits relies on new relationships with those in charge of deconstructing and dismantling buildings. An improved focus on existing resources and materials would allow us to reduce our consumption of primary resources, as well as avoiding the production and accumulation of waste. The (project) is part of an ongoing research toward an architecture characterized by sobriety and pertinence.
It’s a shrine to reuse, basically.
As you can see, it’s also a shrine that’s completely covered in wooden doors — 180 of them to be exact, all plucked from an apartment building undergoing a renovation in Paris’ 19th arrondissment. Topped with a zigzagging roofline, the door-clad structure is elegant, yet disorienting. With a front façade that somewhat resembles a neat line of WC entrances all in a row, approaching the structure is somewhat daunting. Are all of the doors functional? Is so, which one do I enter? Will I stumble into an alternative dimension if I open the second door from the left?
The structure will be dismantled and permanently rebuilt in the 15h arrodissment. (Photo: Cyrus Cornet)
And while Circular Pavilion’s old doors are its most emblematic feature, the whole shebang, as mentioned, is built from architectural salvage: the timber frame is built from leftovers found at a retirement home construction site; the insulation previously lived in the roof of a supermarket; the plywood flooring previously served as exhibition panels; the lights are retired street lamps; and the Plexiglass comes from city hall itself. Even the furnishings, including 50 chairs salvaged from Parisian landfills, could have easily wound up sitting une décharge.
Circular Pavilion will be open to the public at Place de l'Hôtel de Ville until Jan 3. Inside the structure, visitors can sit in on a debate, hear a lecture or attend a special event. Puppet shows, drawing workshops and 3-D printing demos are also scheduled. After its stint outside of city hall, Circular Pavilion will be ... reused. The structure will be dismantled and rebuilt, permanently, in the 15h arrodissment as what's likely to be the coolest sports association clubhouse in Paris.
Via [Dezeen], [Designboom]