The thesis project Circularity inhabits a valiant retail space in a Swedish shopping mall. The project explores strategies to create inexpensive housing, it investigates transformation strategies to repurpose obsolete structures and it tries to identify carbon sequestering ways of building.
2020 has been declared as ”the decade of ambitious action” by the United Nations and the project is developed as a reaction and responds to the urgency of the planetary state of environmental emergency and social justice challenges.
The project is placed at the heart of the structure that is found to be the most prominent symbol of consumption; a shopping mall (Täby Centrum), not only to question current tendencies of consumption but also to respond to the trend of similar structures becoming obsolete.
This establishes the value of the time and resources that has gone into creating the structure, but it also presents an opportunity to evade costs in the pursuit of creating affordable housing.
Stockholm is, like most other cities, suffering from a shortage of affordable housing, in part caused by an ownership dominated housing stock. Täby, as the
municipality in Stockholm with the lowest share of rental units, has the highest average rent in the nation. Social exclusion thus becomes a growing problem.
Circularity, as an approach to sustainability, proposes to transform the negative outputs that the activities in the mall has; in terms of cardboard, plastic and food waste,
through injecting the mix of the materials with mycelium spores in a mold and develop a production of mycelium building elements.
The 3 elements grown by mycelium together creates elements that functions as walls and ceilings that are put together in an interlocking system creating units and
other interior structures. The element as an entity is designed for disassembly to enable easy removal of damage elements and, to some extent, ensure spatial flexibility.
The currently vacant retail space, of 1400 square meters, that the project occupies is divided into smaller and more intimate spaces to fit the purpose of housing. Each resident is allocated a ”private unit” of
roughly 5 square meters, nudging the residents to use the shared spaces to a greater extent. All other spaces are shared to a grading extent amongst the 42 residents of the project.
The project operates on the basis that the mycelium elements inherits properties from the organic or non organic matter it feeds on to grow. The elements grown will attain different levels of translucency depending in the mixing ratio of plastic to cardboard.
This variation in translucency will be used to create a differentiation between spaces, to create a difference in atmosphere of spaces, and to let natural light through the space.
If any mycelium element brakes, it is brought up to the roofs-cape’s constructed green space, to be buried in the mycelium grave yard.
When new mycelium elements are grown, spores are taken from the grave yard. The space is ultimately, as a place for contemplation, cultivation, and mycelium preservation, enclosing the loop.
It would, given current waste flows of the Täby centrum, take approximately 8 months to grow Circularities’ mycelium elements. The project would (based on that 1 tonne of mycelium building material sequester 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide) sequester an astonishing 438,5 tonnes of carbon dioxide.
As the materials for Circularity has been grown, the production continues. The project could potentially spread in the mall structure, or to other structures in the municipality, inflicting a densification of the existing housing stock whilst sequestering great volumes of carbon dioxide.