the mottled blue cover of werner sobek’s new book conveys the essence of what’s going on inside – showing, as it does, a recyclable wall covering made of recycled plastic on the recyclable cover of a book about recyclable architecture that’s fully recyclable itself. what goes around comes around! the wall covering is used in UMAR, the urban mining and recycling experimental unit, part of the NEST research building (“NEST” standing for next evolution in sustainable building technologies) on the campus of the swiss federal laboratories for materials science and technology (EMPA). all the materials used in this building are reusable, recyclable or compostable. and this project represents a recycling of old-into-new in other respects, as well: the book design is an evolution of the series we developed for werner sobek 12 years ago – with beauty uppermost in our minds at the time, rather than sustainability, it must be said. handily, though, it turns out that this was a kind of futureproofing in itself – the old layout is now the new one, reflecting the principle we call sustainabeauty.
vanessa friebe (project manager)