The Pedagogies of Re-Use: The International School of Re-Construction

Duncan Baker-Brown (Editor), Graeme Brooker (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authoredpeer-review


In 2018, Baker-Brown was invited by Rotor (a Brussels-based research group, design studio and consultancy) to join their bid for €4.3million funding from North-West Europe INTERREG for their project which aimed to facilitate the increase in reclaimed building elements from 1% today, to 50% by 2032. Baker-Brown was invited due to his own experience and expertise in the worlds of teaching, researching and practicing around re-use, low carbon, and closed-loop circular systems thinking in the built environment. In turn Baker-Brown was keen to be involved because Rotor have an unrivalled reputation as world-leaders in the field of building deconstruction, and crucially, for enabling the reintroduction of second-hand materials and components into the construction industry supply chain. The project was named ‘Facilitating the circulation of reclaimed building elements’ in North Western Europe, or FCRBE for short. Another attraction for Baker-Brown and his University of Brighton colleagues, is that one of the main remits of EU-funded INTERREG projects is to encourage genuinely inclusive innovation and knowledge exchange in industry & academia, across international-boarders.

The digital School of Re-Construction ran from 02nd-13th August 2021. 24 academics and practitioners ran 11 separate teams of students. In addition, we had 8 public lectures and debates given by internationally-renowned experts in the field of re-use and designing-out-waste. These events were attended by the 110 participants of the summer school, as well as a further 250 external visitors. All recordings of the live events, together with details of the team leaders and the themes they pursued, can be seen on the International School of Re-Construction website.

This book will capture the amazing digital gathering of students, academics, practitioners and activists that happened in August 2021. Curated by a team based at the University of Brighton, and part of a 5 year-long EU-funded INTERREG FCRBE project worth over 4.3 million Euro, the School of Re-Construction involved over 100 people, from countries as far apart as Brazil, Canada, Ireland, UK, Spain, Germany, Greece, UEA and China. They spent two weeks working in 11 teams to consider architectural propositions responding to the current climate and ecological emergency.

This inspiring project was, in effect, a COP-type gathering of people committed to finding ways humans can exist in harmony with our host planet. However, unlike COP26 (etc), we all stayed in our home towns and learned how to use digital platforms to collaborate, thus avoiding the huge carbon footprint that is a consequence of flying around the world in the name of sustainability.

This book will document the work of each of the 11 teams, with all team leaders writing chapters describing the themes they pursued, the projects their students brought to the summer school, as well as the final design ideas developed by each group. These chapters will be supplemented with images of the student’s work, as well as they own thoughts on the experience. As well as evidencing some of the huge amount of work from this summer school, the book will consider how, for example, a student from Rio de Janeiro can work successfully, with a student from China on a project based in Athens?

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)9781032665511, 9781032650623
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Duncan Baker-Brown and Professor Graeme Brooker (Royal College of Art) co-edit the book as well as writing contributory chapters (Introduction and final thoughts). In addition, this book contains chapters from all the teams that took part in the original Interreg FCRBE 'School of Re-Construction' in 2021, plus a Foreword by Ellen McArthur Foundation co-founder Ken Webster. Team leader chapters are as follows:

Lucy Ann Glibert (University of Brighton) 'The Allotment'
Scott Mcauley (Anthropocene Architecture School) 'Build Lifeboats Not Coffins'
Dr. Ben Sweeting (University of Brighton) 'Re-use Aesthetics and the Architectural Roots of Ecological Crisis'
Nick Gant & Dr. Ryan Woodard (both University of Brighton) 'Social Fabric'
Scott McAulay & sam Turner 'Raw 2 ‘Re-imagining infrastructure’
Prof. Graeme Brooker (Royal College of Art with Louis Destombes and Hugo Topalov of Bellastock) ‘The Re-Use Imaginary’
Jonny Pugh (Flore & Prats Architects Barcelona) 'Deep Re-Use'
Prof. Andre Viljoen (University of Brighton) 'Banqueting in Useless buildings'
Prof. Folke Köbberling & Alexa Kreissl (University of Brunswick, Germany) ‘Hands-on Experimentation: Exploring the Potential of the Useless’
Michael Howe & James McAdam (University of Brighton) 'By-product: Methane'
Katia Soltysiak & Anthony Roberts (University of Brighton) 'Hybrid ‘Composite/ Re-Use/ Re-Mix: the Dub tracks’
Michaël Ghyoot and Sophie Boone (Rotor Brussels) 'A heuristic of flows’
Nicole Maurer & Mark Oldengarm (Maurer United Architects, Maastricht, NL) ‘Material Flows’
Filipa Oliveira & Taleen Josefsson (Architects Climate Action Network UK)‘Housing Life-Cycle Extended'
Lionel Devlieger & Maarten Gielen (Rotor Brussels) 'How to teach architectural design in the (new) age of contingency?'
Prof. Elma Durmisevic (4D Architects Amsterdan, NL)'Reversible Building Design Studios during Green Design Biennale'
Prof. Graeme Brooker (RCA) & Duncan Baker-Brown 'Re-Use Pedagogies: a reflection'


  • Re-use
  • Architecture Design
  • Interior architecture
  • Circular cities
  • Deconstruction
  • Circular economy
  • Creative Re-Use
  • Pedagogic Practice
  • climate activism
  • Climate Crisis
  • Climate Literacy


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