This last year I have been exploring different approaches towards sustainability in architecture and interior design, trying to define the term itself and understanding its boundaries in our modern way of building. This project summarises what I found to be the key elements of the practice of sustainable design. My focus has been on the deep entanglement between sustainability and time, causing me to question the concept of monumentality in architecture and associating the term sustainability with flexibility instead. The next few years will hopefully allow me to continue discovering and studying holistic and durable design practices that encourage a more sustainable application of architecture, design and urban planning.
The way we build currently is not sustainable. At the moment the building industry is responsible for 850 million tonnes of landfill waste every year in Europe alone. Most buildings built today are made primarily from concrete, a natural resource that is running out drastically. Our consumption of sand in concrete is sourced mainly from the ocean and is causing the erosion of beaches to the point where so far worldwide over 25 islands have disappeared from the face of the earth, as a direct result of our irresponsible way of building. This has to stop.
This flexible wall design is supposed to act as a simple solution that allows for an easy and resourceful renovation and repurposing of existing buildings. Tallywall is a concept that tackles the ever-growing amount of building waste we produce by re-using existing spaces with new floor plans and functions. The idea is that exteriors of buildings are merely shells that can be easily repurposed anytime using flexible walls. This way they don’t have to be demolished.
// THE CONCEPT
Tallywalls are intended to fit into any existing interior space. While this is not fully possible, this system works in most spaces between 2,4 m and 3,8 m ceiling height. This allows the structure to be applied in nearly all standard interiors. The idea is that the wall can be installed in spaces that already exist, or that new buildings are built with a minimum of structural elements so that all interiors can be adjusted throughout time with a maximum of flexibility.
The wall is ideal for domestic spaces, offices, retail, hospitality, childcare, schools and universities, doctors and hospitals. But also for temporary installation such as the film and theatre industry, in temporary housing like refugee centres, in exhibitions, fairs and shows. With these walls, an office can become a home, a retail space a kindergarten and a dentist’s a gallery without any production of interior waste, let alone the intense amount of waste when a building has to be demolished due to obsolescence.
Ideally, this wall structure could become a substitute for gypsum wallboard, but with complete reusability and continuously flexible applications. In architecture, they could be a vital component in ending our throwaway society.
// THE STRUCTURE
The key element is flexibility. All parts of the wall have to be flexible enough to be reused after one function in one space. Whether the wall has been used for a number of years or whether it has only been used for a week, no materials should be wasted. Therefore the system is fully modular and built without the use of glue or other wet joints. In order to work in this society and to be desirable, the walls panels would come in a selection of different styles and functions. Depending on the use of the wall there is a selection of materials and surfaces that coat the panels. In theory, there would be a large collection of coated panels that would be permanently in stock. I chose all of the coating materials carefully to be not only durable and long-lasting but also come from a sustainable origin. All covers have different functions, there is translucent walls, prints, recycled plastic panels, blackboard walls, wooden or tiled walls and more. Nearly all materials would be made either from recycled products like Smile Plastic and Richlite, would be recyclable, such as Durat and Bencore or would be made from natural elements like wood or cork panels.
For more information please find the Tallywall website below which includes all extra manuals, the design journals and further details.
CLICK HERE FOR THE WEBSITE