As we’ve seen on other occasions, society is placing more and more value on ecology and recycling. Hence it shouldn’t seem strange that architecture is getting in on the act too, using building materials which have a positive impact on cities as well as providing healthier living conditions for their inhabitants. Wood is one such material. The responsible use of wood begins with recycling. In industry, wooden supports are normally used in the handling of heavy cargoes. These supports, called pallets, have become a popular medium in the design and decor fields, being as easy to obtain as they are cheap.
A prime example in Paris
The best-known example of this trend is the AME-LOT project, located at Rue Amelot in Paris and developed by Stephane Malka’s architectural studio. Challenged with a deteriorating ex-student halls of residence, which was however structurally sound, Malka proposed a type of facing which would utilise pallets joined horizontally by hinges.
These hinges allow for flexible designs which users can adapt throughout the year to suit the prevailing weather conditions. There are multiple advantages to such a system: it is affordable, clean (no waste has been produced), easy to implement (the gable end helped to facilitate installation). At the same time, the modular nature of the paneling creates interesting plays of light and shade, which make the building a great deal more attractive.
Moreover, despite the initially shocking impact of the building, its avant-garde image attracts new residents to the neighbourhood, bringing a new lease of life.
Sometimes, something as simple as these pallets – originally designed for industrial purposes – can be used to create world- renowned works of art.