Wetland Lab Proposes Sustainable Cement Alternative in Tokyo
By Global Art Daily’s Editorial Board
Published on December 2nd, 2022
Until December 11th, 2022, waiwai research and design agency is exhibiting their Wetland Lab research project at SRR Project Space, an exhibition space operated by Japanese art tech company Startbahn in the heart of Shimokitazawa, Tokyo. Wetland is a project led by waiwai research and design agency, the research arm of waiwai, an award-winning architectural practice with offices in Dubai and Tokyo. The research project proposes an environmentally friendly salt-based cement alternative inspired by sabkhas—crystalline salt formations found in wetlands in the United Arab Emirates. This is Wetland’s first presentation in Japan, a year after it premiered at the National Pavilion of the UAE for the 17th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.
Entitled Wetland Lab, the exhibition showcases research into ecosystems and materials carried out by waiwai research and design agency. The research project began at the Pavilion of the United Arab Emirates at the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2021, with the exhibition Wetland. The pavilion was awarded the Golden Lion for Best National Participation, the Biennale’s highest honour. It presented a prototype of a salt-based cement material, made from recycled industrial waste brine, which has the potential to reduce the construction industry’s impact on the environment. This new material was devised as a potential alternative to commonly used Portland cement, and uses salt as a binding agent and relies on a crystallization process inspired by the sabkhas salt formations naturally found in the UAE.
Wael Al Awar, Founding Partner and Principal Architect of waiwai, comments: “We feel a strong sense of responsibility towards the climate crisis and an urgent need to act. The role and definition of the architect must change, to imagine and work towards new futures that support and nurture our ecosystems. Modern materials are responsible for almost 40% of the climate crisis, and the production of space has left our cities looking identical to one another, with no reflection of context. Our concept of the future vernacular offers a way to reconnect with the past using present technologies, with a focus on recycling industrial waste.”
Modern materials are responsible for almost 40% of the climate crisis, and the production of space has left our cities looking identical to one another, with no reflection of context.
- Wael Al Awar, Founding Partner and Principal Architect, waiwai
Kazuma Yamao, Founding Partner and Principal Architect of waiwai, further adds: “Here begins an attempt to address the many threats to our ecosystems such as global climate change. The site is the key: the culture, the history, the climate, and the people who inhabit it. A multicultural and multidisciplinary team led by architects based in Japan and the UAE presents Wetland Lab, and the possibilities of a certain future.”
A multicultural and multidisciplinary team led by architects based in Japan and the UAE presents Wetland Lab, and the possibilities of a certain future.
- Kazuma Yamao, Founding Partner and Principal Architect, waiwai
The exhibition at SRR Project Space marks the first time the research is being exhibited in Japan. A central theme of the exhibition is the ways in which technology can be used for the development of new construction materials that are uniquely suited to local ecosystems and environments, in line with SRR Project Space’s mission to connect the local community of Shimokitazawa with the latest research-led, tech-driven projects in contemporary art and design from around the world. Taihei Shii, Founder and CEO of Startbahn, comments on the exhibition: “As a blockchain infrastructure company, Startbahn views ecological concerns as critical to building a sustainable future for the culture and creative sector. As such, we are pleased to introduce waiwai research and design agency’s Wetland Lab for the first time in Japan. We are proud to present such groundbreaking research on sustainability and architecture at SRR Project Space, giving hope for technology’s role to alleviate our global climate crisis.”
As a blockchain infrastructure company, Startbahn views ecological concerns as critical to building a sustainable future for the culture and creative sector.
- Taihei Shii, Founder/CEO of Startbahn
Learn more about the exhibition here, on view in Tokyo until December 11th, 2022.
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Wetland Lab by waiwai research and design agency
SRR Project Space, Shimokitazawa, Tokyo
October 29, 2022 (Sat) - December 11, 2022 (Sun)
Opening hours: Thu - Sat: 13:00 - 19:00; Sun: 13:00 - 18:00
Access: Google Maps
Presented by Startbahn, Inc.
Co-organized and cooperation: waiwai research and design agency
A Global Art Daily Agency FZ-LLC subdivision.
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