2012 Architecten is a Rotterdam-based practice of architects Jeroen Bergsma, Jan Jongert and Césare Peeren, established in 1997. Based around a desire to reduce the use of natural resources through innovation and clever design, they have proposed the concept of 'superuse', which unlike recycling uses materials, components and objects in the form that they are found. This means that the energy wasted in the transportation, breaking down and reforming of material can be saved. By ensuring that designers are aware of what is available at the start of a project they are able to incorporate specific components within their design - for instance the superuse of five discarded rotor blades in the making of a children's playground. 2012 Architecten acknowledge that what is required for this to happen is not just creativity in design, but a change in attitudes, including innovative management practices. They have proposed a restructuring of the construction process to include a new professional: the superuse scout, a person able to gauge the opportunities and reusable potential of different objects and components.
At the start of each project, 2012 Architecten carry out an assessment of the waste and productive cycles that a given site or situation is part of, including food, water, traffic, humans, energy etc. This research informs the design process, including an overall strategy for acquiring materials, making use of competencies and skills in the locality, and finally in the design of buildings and other interventions. Through designing not just their interventions but the whole scenario of their production, 2012 Architecten empower local exchange and production with the aim of lowering dependence on goods that are not available locally. They take their inspiration from the creative use of waste material that occurs every day in conditions of scarcity across the global South, and place themselves within the self-help, DIY tradition of 1970's US and in particular the use of waste materials and ecological practices developed in building the Earthships.
Ed van Hinte, Jan Jongert and Césare Peeren, Superuse: constructing new architecture by shortcutting material flows (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2007).
2012 Architecten and Suite 75, 'Superuse.org: Where recycling meets design', http://www.superuse.org/ [accessed 16 June 2010].
Merel Pit, 'Van vleugel tot speeltuin: speeltuin Wikado in Rotterdam door 2012 Architecten', Architect [Netherlands], 40 (2009), 68-71.
Kirsten Hannema, 'Villa Welpeloo, Enschede: 2012 architecten', A10: new European architecture, 2006, 16.
Recognising opportunities are basic capabilities for what may
become a new profession: the superuse scout. Apart from the ability
to understand materials that have the potential to be useful, in
addition such a professional will have to know the ins and outs of
transportation and costs as well as of methods to make found
materials suitable for application.
- Ed van Hinte, Jan Jongert and Césare Peeren, Superuse: constructing new architecture by shortcutting material flows (Rotterdam: 010 Publishers, 2007), p. 14.
A design is not seen as the beginning of a linear process but
asa phase in a continuous cycle of creation and recreation, use and
- 2012 mission statement
One of the challenges of the Recycloop was to fasten the sink
units in such a way that they can be dismounted and re-used as sink
units afterwards. Steel is very expensive at the moment, so they
are only on loan. We've promised to return them unharmed to the
company we got them from. They'll sell them as second hand sink
- 2012 Architecten in DAMn 14, December 2007/January 2008, p. 135
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