Danish Architecture Center

From waste to architecture

Floors made from car tyres, ceilings from plastic bottles and walls from reclaimed wood. The ‘Wasteland’ exhibition by Lendager Group at the Danish Architecture Center challenged our relationship with waste and invites us to explore the near future where waste will play a vital role in how we live, work and consume.

“On one hand, globally, we’re facing enormous problems in the form of climate change, pollution, rising resource prices and a rapidly growing population and middle class. On the other hand, we are also presented with a unique opportunity to transform challenges into potentials. The trick is to unite innovation, collaboration and good old-fashioned common sense and to see opportunities and value instead of waste.This is what we do in the Lendager Group, but we need a common effort that spans companies, politicians and private individuals. That’s why we’re looking forward to opening this exhibition and welcoming everyone to Wasteland” says Anders Lendager, founder and partner, Lendager Group.

“The Lendager Group is one of the front runners – also internationally – in upcycled production. They have a vision of a waste-free society that we really want to make concrete and tangible for our audience. This exhibition will change the way we look at refuse by presenting it in a fascinating new light as a resource of high economic and aesthetic value. Wasteland demonstrates that waste is no longer discardable-on the contrary. It’s the most important unexploited resource we have” says Tanya Lindkvist, Head of Program for LIFE, Danish Architecture Center.

Denmark alone produces roughly 12 million tonnes of waste annually. In the ‘Wasteland’ exhibition, the sustainable architectural firm Lendager Group addresses how waste can be used in new architecture – as new resources. We are all beginning to understand the importance of recycling, but what really pushes boundaries in the future is the concept of ‘upcycling’. In the upcycling process, the material is not just recycled, but reused as a new and improved material. For instance, the Lendager Group demonstrates in the exhibition how concrete can be made even stronger by combining the new product with old, recycled concrete.

From shipping container to new home

The exhibition, which will run from 26 January to 17 April 2017, is themed on six different materials, including glass, concrete and plastic. First we meet the materials as by-products and then we see the transformation they undergo to become new materials, new buildings – even new urban spaces, where everything is reused. One example is the Danish Upcycle House, built by Realdania By & Byg – a house made solely from upcycled materials such as old shipping containers. The result is a house built with an extremely small carbon footprint that is at the same time designed to adapt to the seasons with rain water collection, high utilisation of daylight and so forth. The house costs DKK 1 million to build, thereby proving that this method is economical. And there is no compromising on aesthetics as the house features a contemporary look and a wealth of details.

A waste-free society

The exhibition question, among other things, how buildings can absorb CO2 instead of emitting CO2? How do we upcycle materials from abandoned buildings? And more generally: How do we build houses from waste? These are highly relevant questions if the ‘Denmark without waste’ strategy and the European Union’s focus on the circular economy are to succeed.

Wasteland is curated by the Lendager Group and mounted in association with the Danish Architecture Center. The exhibition is funded by Realdania, Dreyer Foundation and the Danish Arts Foundation.

About the Lendager Group

The Lendager Group started out as Lendager Architects and today has 19 employees. Sustainable solutions are the Lendager Group’s core competence and an eternal source of new projects. Through three sections – architecture and urban development, strategy and analysis and upcycle product development – the Lendager Group continually seeks to push the boundaries for sustainability. The firm’s goal is to help reduce global carbon emissions and minimise anthropogenic climate change. This includes realising a society that is sustainable, experience-rich, healthy, and socially and economically accommodating, with clean air, water and soil, renewable energy and resource-awareness – also for future generations.

About the exhibition

Wasteland will run from 26 January to 17 April at the Danish Architecture Center, Strandgade 27B, 1401 Copenhagen K. Admission: DKK 60. To tie in with the exhibition, there will be a series of events and visits to Lendager’s projects and other sites. The exhibition will also host a smaller free exhibition for children on Level 2 where children and their parents are invited to build a house from scrap.

Read more about ‘Wasteland’ here

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