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Non-Extractive Material Sourcing Through Contemporary Agricultural Practice

Part 2 Project 2023
Christian Nielsen
Aarhus School of Architecture | Denmark
Large amounts of materials lie unappreciated and underused all around us. This is particularly evident in the realm of agriculture. My project investigated a selection of non-extractive by-products, sourced from the Danish agricultural landscape; by analyzing commonly cultivated crops as an attempt to discover new potential through research and experimentation.

By combining these by-products, I explored hidden potentials and revealed alternative possibilities for a more sustainable material economy, by proposing a narrative where these bio-materials will alleviate our dependencies from ecological harmful resources. By incorporating practices such as borrowing (gleaning), up-cycling and embracing the concept of fragility in building materials, we can effectively expand our building material plenum, and at the same time mitigate the negative impact of agriculture on our environment. But most significantly, we can reduce the need for additional extraction in construction.

The materials explored create a (temporary) architecture that challenges the idea of construction and fabrication. The resulting buildings are educational outlets whereby visitors can learn techniques for self-production of new building components. Eventually, through a process of disassembly, the components are then returned as livestock feed or fertilizer, from which the material was initially borrowed, meaning zero ‘extraction’ and a true circular economy.

Christian Nielsen


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