Wasted: Trash Talks: Design for the End of Material as We Know It

Cornell University, 2019 Preston H. Thomas Memorial Symposium.

The planet has finite resources, yet we design and build as if our materials are unlimited. In fact, the earth’s crust contains less than 20 years of copper, tin, and zinc, at the current rate of mining. Sand, a vital aggregate in cement, is rapidly depleting. Architects urgently need to rethink not only what materials we use, but how they are designed, assembled, and eventually disassembled, in order to be reused in a circular fashion.

With a keynote address by Peter Van Assche and presentations by Maria Aiolova, David Benjamin, Meredith Miller, Sabine Rau-Oberhuber, Billie Faircloth, Michaël Ghyoot, and Juliette Spertus, this year’s Preston H. Thomas Memorial Symposium will gather the world’s leading creative experts on waste and design to focus on the question of how we as designers can, and must, play a larger and more creative role in design for a circular future. Through discussion topics ranging from designing with recycled and recyclable materials to building with innovative renewable organic materials, the symposium aims to provoke young designers to create innovative, meaningful, and inspiring architecture by considering waste not as a problem, but as a resource. More.