ALLIANCE FRANCAISE: Matieres Grises Exhibition – Recycling Materials For Architecture

by | Jun 23, 2015 | Events


An architectural exhibition titled “Matière Grise: Material, Recycling, Architecture”, which aims at transforming main cities into “Zero Waste Metropolis” with the use of recycled materials in building will be held at the exhibition hall of Alliance Francaise Accra from Thursday 25th June 2015 to 26th July from 9am to 9pm.

There will be a Panel discussion facilitated by Nat Amarteifio, former Mayor of Accra on 25th June at 6:30pm. A cocktail and launch of the exhibition follow at 8pm.

Taking into consideration the crisis of materials and ambition to transform main cities into “Zero Waste Metropolis”, the Architects of the agency ‘Encore Heureux’ in France explore the issue of re-using materials in this decisive era where architecture aspires to reinvent itself by adjusting to environmental and economic restrictions. This exhibition will have architects discussing projects that show the potential and the possibility of a new life for used materials.

Re-employment of building materials, according to the agency, would definitely be one of the tools for the transition toward a less “material consuming” architecture which economises raw materials. The title of the exhibition, “Matière Grise”, which means “Grey matter” has a double meaning, from singular to plural: consuming more grey matter to generate less grey matter. Using less “grey matter” leads to the use of less energy to extract, transform, carry and shape the material.

 As we continue to tap into natural resources to feed, house, travel, clothe and entertain ourselves, the construction field, such as agriculture, transport and energy, cannot remain unconcerned to such issues. To build differently, several strategies must be used. The reemployment of material is one of them.

Architecture is embodied in multiple materials put together using techniques, know-hows and manpower. Industrial revolutions led to the massive use of natural resources (sand, fossil energies, minerals, wood, land, water …) offering incredible possibilities to architects (structure steel, reinforced concrete, glass…).  All these edifices shaped our cities and habitats. However, in a finite world, the natural resources available are limited and it has been predicted that some of these resources could disappear within a few decades if we maintain our current level of consumption. At the same time, the amount of material thrown away, incinerated or buried has never been so high. Mines are dry and waste disposal sites overflow.

More “grey matter” means more consciousness, simplicity, invention and creativity for a responsible use of the material. It is also about claiming a more local approach, more collective, more surprising where the architect recovers his capacity of action. The reuse of material would thus be a deliberate choice of simplicity applied to building design. If natural resources are limited, intellectual resources seem infinite. 

 “Grey matter” is a journey with those exploring the precision of minimum impact, animated by the energy of conceiving and building.
This event is made possible thanks to Fondation Alliance Francaise, Pavillon de l’Arsenal and Encore Heureux, architectural practice.

This exhibition is free and open to the public.