This Home Takes Recycling to the Next Level

This Home Takes Recycling to the Next Level

By Jane Szita / Photos by Mark Seelen
In the eastern Netherlands, resourceful recyclers 2012Architects have built a house almost entirely out of locally sourced scrap, from old billboards to broken umbrellas.

Villa Welpeloo in Enschede, the Netherlands, doesn't look like a recycled building. Its austere lines and spacious interior have nothing of the junkyard aesthetic about them. Yet despite appearances, it's reused to the bones. To accomplish this, architects Jan Jongert and Jeroen Bergsma of 2012Architects reversed the typical order of the design process—first house, then materials—and instead began by scouting the local area for items to recycle.

Villa Welpeloo was the architects' first house, designed for clients Tjibbe Knol and Ingrid Blans. "Reused materials account for 60 percent of the structure," says Jongert. "And that goes up to as much as 90 percent when it comes to the interior." The benefit of this approach, which Jongert and Bergsma like to call "recyclicity" or "superuse," is, of course, a greatly reduced construction carbon footprint, due to material recycling and lower transportation costs. But it's also, insists Jongert, "a way to reach a very high level of lively aesthetics."

The architects came to the idea of superuse architecture when they were student at Delft University of Technology. "We were using waste materials for our small-scale models," he recalls. "We asked ourselves: Why don't we do this for real?"

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