Urban Terrazzo turns building rubble into a new surface material. Building waste, like concrete or bricks, is carefully selected and put back together using the traditional terrazzo method. Our goal with Urban Terrazzo is to rewrite the history of materials. That means that we (“They Feed off Buildings” – a design and architecture collective from Berlin) find and rework traces of old architecture into new surface materials. What is really important to us is a progressive approach in monument preservation, where the old is made into something new, finds its way into the world of architecture.
First the building rubble is flush-cast with a slab material. Thanks to this method, rubble can replace gravel as a concrete construction element. This gives waste material a new life. The building rubble is carefully evaluated in terms of its specific color, structure and visual quality. This is the basis for a new and unique piece of Urban Terrazzo. It is easy to say ‚sustainability‘ but it is not easy to put it into practice: especially when it comes to large amounts as required in the construction industry. Here, every tiny innovation is worth its weight in gold. And as designers, and also as women, in the construction industry, it is not very easy. Meaning that we are trying to set new standards and look at our architectural inheritance in a different way. If you just look at Berlin, every year about 5 million tons of construction waste is created, most of it still ends up in our landfills and does not get reused. This is where we want to come in and can make a difference.
As a material Urban Terrazzo actively contributes to establish a recycling economy. It helps increase the acceptability of recycled building materials. The refined and sustainable design material may spark new inspiration in the building materials industry. We really think that sustainability has to be rethought in a new and different way. Sustainability is on our minds but is still associated with a specific type of aesthetics and we want to break from that. Meaning as an architetural collective we produce new pictorial worlds that may seem surprising in terms of sustainable design. Some of them are dark or experimental and that is exactly what we need. Modern and progressive design can also be sustainable.
The project has already been implemented in Berlin, Prague and Verona.