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RIBA Award for Sustainable Design

The Udaipur Plastic School

Part 2 Project 2023
Chew Shan Wei
University of Bath | UK
Due to decades of mismanagement, waste is part of every landscape in Udaipur. Yet, consumption of virgin plastic and its callous disposal are still increasing to feed growth. The Plastic School envisions a second life for all of Udaipur’s waste plastic - as pavements, shelters and buildings, thus replacing thousands of tonnes a year of concrete, fired brick, and steel.

Materiality is central to the scheme. Waste plastics are sequestered in large amounts within the structure through a variety of tectonic languages appropriate for different cost and environmental requirements: bottle-units, mass construction, and thermally unbroken rainscreen cladding. These utilise plant-derived additives to provide UV and fire resistance. The structural frame is made of a ferrocement-based replacement that sequesters carbon and utilises recycled plastic reinforcing fibres and aggregates.

The functions of plastic recycling, from collection to product manufacturing, line two streets and invite participation. Concurrently, to accelerate a future without plastic use at all, the landscape provides raw material for prototyping bioplastics.

Workers’ homes are situated on site and provide a comfortable and dignified space, while demonstrating a model for how retrofitting structures across the city can contribute to the ambition.

Chew Shan Wei

Jayne Barlow
Prof Alex Wright
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