Retrospective 2020: Embassy of Circular & Biobased Building
At the Embassy of Circular and Biobased Building, we looked into how homes can be made from biobased materials. With materials from nature such as eggs, mushrooms, and seaweed. Or a wall of popcorn. We explored what’s already possible and what’s needed now to make the transition to sustainable building.
Sometimes it feels like an impasse: the enormous climate challenge on the one hand and the tremendous building challenge on the other. As an embassy, we took up this challenge. We introduced visitors to new methods of design such as modularity, detachability, and urban mining. And we collected natural materials with high design quality. All with the aim of more truly sustainable, lifecycle-friendly homes. And homes that look good too.
The research process into new materials and methods came together in The Exploded View. This year it is still a model, but at DDW21, it can be seen in all its glory in Eindhoven. Pascal Leboucq of Biobased Creations is the inventor of the house. The interactive installation incorporates applications and materials of today, tomorrow, and beyond. Products that already exist but don’t easily find their way to construction sites, to developments that still need serious support to move forward and scale-up. The scale of the first version of The Exploded View was 1:4.
The project is a joint voyage of discovery into the operation of biobased materials, circular methodologies, and the construction techniques involved. “More and more building materials are made from food waste, textiles, sewage, buildings, or even our own living environment. We demonstrated how our search for materials can keep the production cycle as short and efficient as possible,” says Leboucq.
During DDW20, a ‘library’ also went online that, for each material used in The Exploded View, explains where it comes from, what the production process looks like, and what the CO2 consumption – and absorption – is. Curator Lucas de Man, also of Company New Heroes, is happy that experts collaborated and shared their knowledge on this open-source platform. “It’s no longer, who will find the holy grail? Now it’s, what can we learn from each other? The revolution isn’t going to happen with one biobased product or circular methodology; we really need to do this together.”
The Embassy of Circular & Biobased Building and over sixty partners kicked off DDW20 with the online premiere of The Exploded View. Various online talks and conferences were also organised.
There was the BlueCity Green Walls Hackathon, which resulted in three concepts that will be realised in the coming months. De Man presented The Exploded View during ‘Ambassadors Talk’ on DDW TV. In this episode, he talked to Lidewij Edelkoort about the wake-up call of the Corona crisis. The world is longing for a reset, but the question is how? Edelkoort and De Man offered their perspectives on this question.
Visitors could also watch other programmes about the embassy on DDW TV, such as the video tour of The Exploded View and the short documentary of The Growing Pavilion, the iconic biobased pavilion that was on view during DDW 2019, and the programme For Starters.
Several embassy partners organised a meeting. Moodumo also held an online expert session, Ecoplex filmed a short video at The Exploded View, and there was the DRIVE event on Circular & Biobased Building by CLICKNL. There was also an online meeting of the province of North Brabant and Cirkelstad about ‘Brabant Standard Circular Building.’
Pascal Leboucq addressed the international press and Lucas De Man presented The Exploded View to a delegation of North American and Canadian Design Fairs.
Over the last weekend of DDW, a presentation about the embassy took place during the HOPE forum.
Various media told the story of the Embassy of Circular & Biobased Building. World Design Embassies made a podcast about the embassy featuring two designers: Basse Stittgen on his project ‘How do you like your eggs?’ and Anton Maertens of BC Materials. Listen to the interview on Radio 1 (interview starts at 21.27).
Would you like to know more, share your thoughts, or participate? View the interactive installation The Exploded View online. A scale model will be on display at various locations in the Netherlands in the near future. The full size house of biobased materials will be exhibited at DDW21. Follow the developments here.