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Once Waste:
Collaborative Recycling Pavilion

August - September, 2023 / Ankara

“Once Waste: Collaborative Recycling Pavilion” is designed and implemented by AnkaraAks (Aks) and funded by the Delegation of the European Union to Türkiye within the scope of “Renewal for Resilience” event. (EU Youth Forum). Aks is a strategic design studio working in the creative industries. As Aks, we organized “Young Spirit of Renewal” event with the cooperation of the the Delegation of the European Union to Türkiye in 2021. In this event, we wrote a manifesto with NEB principles. “Renewal Manifesto”. In June 2022, we expanded the scope of our manifesto by organizing a side event in Brussels within the scope of the NEB Festival with the "Renewal Manifesto".

neb once waste render 2

Once Waste: Collaborative
Recycling Pavilion

waste kopya.jpg

“The future city makes no distinction between waste and supply.”
Mitchell Joachim 

recycling diagram of "waste" as "supply"

(Hedel et al., 2014, Building From Waste: Recovered Materials in Architecture and Construction, p. 15)

In the world we live in, acceleration of consumption is seen as a level of welfare and production-consumption is not sensitive to ecological balance and our ecosystem. Since this relationship is not handled as a result of a conscious and critical process, what we consume remains as "waste" and the existence of this waste is increasing rapidly day by day. What remains after all this rapid consumption made us think: Can what was once “waste” actually turn into production itself? 

Recycling (burying, burning, shredding or making ready for reuse) of these "wastes", which remain as a result of consumption and are seen as worthless and undesirable, is generally done in remote areas of the city, out of sight and mind.


“The future city makes no distinction between waste and supply.”

(Mitchell Joachim, Architect)


Recycling waste out of sight in this way also causes the rate of consumption to increase. In our daily lives, we tend to think that garbage evaporates and flies away when thrown away effortlessly. However, this idea is quite wrong because waste disrupts the ecological balance and we can balance the production-consumption relationship only if it can be reused as "supply".


For this reason, “Once Waste: Collaborative Recycling Pavilion" which we see as the construction of our manifesto is designed by Aks. We believe that waste itself can also be an opportunity for the architectural production process. This pavilion should make us question the production-consumption relationship in our daily lives and "reveal" that waste, which is "out of sight", can be evaluated and used as an opportunity and even as supply material for our production.


Collaborative Recycling Pavilion:
3 principles and 3 moduls

We chose 3 types of waste for this pavilion:
1- high density polyethylene (HDPE) plastic waste,
2-wooden pallet waste,
3-fabric waste.

These 3 materials form 3 modules, which are the building blocks of the pavilion. The Pavilion is designed in a way that allows participants to combine the modules as they wish and collectively create their own forms, just like a city-scale puzzle.

Image by Grianghraf

References from Atomium

While thinking about the form and combination method of the pavilion, we were inspired by the Atomium Expo 58 in Brussels.

Atomium shows the crystal structure of the iron atom, which was the strongest material of that period and was seen as the architecture of the future. In our opinion, the three principles of the New European Bauhaus form the basis of the architecture of the future. 3 different materials used in the pavilion reference these 3 principles.

While Atomium emphasizes a resilient future through the bonds of iron atoms with each other, the pavilion emphasizes resilience through the materials represented by these 3 principles of the New European Bauhaus and their connections with each other.


As we emphasized in the pavilion, in our opinion, the resilient cities of the future will be designed with a participatory and transdisciplinary approach, based on the principle of "sustainable, inclusive and aesthetic", and at the same time, the wastes that are the result of consumption will turn into supply material of production.

In this way, we will create a sustainable ecosystem in our world where resources are quite limited and depleting. "This is how we will be renewed!”

Collaborative Recycling Pavilion
Construction Process

We imagined a participatory, transdisciplinary and interactive construction process at every step of this pavilion, as will be the case in the construction of cities of the future. We did not purchase anything in the construction of this pavilion! We made an open call on our social media account to collect waste materials. We asked people to collect their plastic waste for 1 week. We aimed to question consumption habits and raise awareness by accumulating and making visible these wastes, which are thought to fly away when thrown into the trash. Consisting of approximately 60 kilograms of waste, this pavilion consists of a rough estimate of 50,000 waste materials in total!


In order to follow the recycling process of plastic, wood and fabric waste, we went to the "scrap dealers site(hurdacılar)" in Ankara, which is a really remote part of the city. As a result of assigning waste and waste areas as worthless and poor, the lives of people working and living in these areas are rendered invisible and devalued. We also talked to people who collect and destroy/recycle waste in these areas that are considered "invisible", and in this process, we developed an inclusive design approach by taking their opinions.

During the manufacturing process, we collaborated with Bilkent University Faculty of Fine Arts and Architecture and used design studios and carried out a collective and transdisciplinary process with the members of the university's student society DAS (Design and Architecture Society) Bilkent.


We followed the simplest methods at every stage of the pavilion, making it easy to manufacture even at home. (yes, we used a standard household oven, simple carpentry materials and simple cutting machines!)


Even though the Pavilion is our design, it is actually yours. 

Pavilion, Renewal for Resilience
and more...

You can find the vision drawn by our studio within the scope of New European Bauhaus, our projects (Young Spirit of Renewal event 2021, Ankara, Renewal Manifesto, Mediterrenian World Forum - Renewal Manifesto 2022, Marseille, New European Bauhaus Festival - AnkaraAks Side Event 2022, Brussels, our latest planned event Renewal For Resilience, 2023) and more can be found below!

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