2021 ACSA Teachers Conference, Curriculum for Climate Agency: Design in Action

The Circular Installation

Teachers Proceedings

Author(s): Mary E. Hale

Ubiquitous in our studios and environmentally corrosive: Rigid Foam, FoamCor, Acrylic, and PVC to name a few examples, are energy intensive, toxic to produce and persistent. These persistent materials may try to find an alibi for use in the longer life of a building, but in an architectural model or installation, that alibi falls apart. A model’s serviceable lifespan may be a mere twenty minute presentation followed by twenty minutes to photograph, and then into overflowing waste bins whose contents flow to a landfill where they will last through millennia (Figure 1). The Circular Installation Studio confronts the disconnect between the nearly eternal lifespan of our materials and the exceedingly short lifespan of the physical artifacts of our design process. We confront this issue through materials research and experimentation, materials analysis, design of temporary physical artifacts, and disposal of these artifacts. Thereby the studio provides a window into material flows, from whence they come and to where they go, giving students a greater appreciation for how their choices impact the environment.


Volume Editors
Jonathan A. Scelsa & Jørgen Johan Tandberg