Ecological building materials are of great significance to environmental protection, resource and energy conservation and healthy human life, so the development of green, environmentally friendly and renewable building materials is the current demand and trend of the times.
The birth of eco-materials
With the progress of the times and the continuous development of the industrial field, a series of environmental problems such as atmospheric pollution, water pollution and the destruction of biodiversity are becoming increasingly prominent, bringing a serious crisis to mankind and nature. However, in the process of social civilisation, materials play an extremely important role on the one hand, and on the other hand affect the ecological balance in the process of collection, extraction and production, requiring rational use by people.
Therefore, in the early 1990s, a research group at the university of tokyo, led by professor ryoichi yamamoto, proposed a new concept of “Ecological materials”, which means that materials used by human beings should live in harmony with, rather than destroy, the ecological environment. Since then, this concept has attracted the attention and consideration of material scientists and architectural designers, and represents the birth of a new design thinking and development direction. The research and development of ecological materials meets the needs of today’s social development and enables people to live in harmony with nature, thus creating a safe and comfortable living environment.
What are eco-materials?
Eco-materials are those materials that have good use properties and excellent environmental compatibility. The aim is to find materials that have the lowest environmental burden, purify and restore the environment during processing, extraction, preparation, use and regeneration, while not only meeting the performance of the environment and use, but also considering economic performance and keeping costs within acceptable limits.
Renewable materials include a wide range of materials, such as new synthetic materials made from waste wood and bamboo, and have three important characteristics: Environmental harmony, where materials co-exist in harmony with the environment; comfort, where materials should bring people a sense of health, comfort, warmth and safety during use; and innovation, where the use of materials should provide forward-looking services for users and play a pioneering role in people’s lives and the environment.
Recycled materials in practice
To achieve sustainable economic development, it is necessary to adopt energy-saving and low-carbon measures to save limited building materials. In the course of economic development worldwide, the construction industry must improve the efficiency of recycling waste construction materials and increase the utilisation of construction materials while promoting economic development.
The reuse of building materials includes many aspects, such as the reuse of waste wood, the reuse of waste concrete, the reuse of waste masonry and the reuse of waste steel resources, and many of these materials are already in practice in buildings, as exemplified by la colmena by architects luigi rosselli and raffaello rosselli. The project is exploring ways to redefine and revalue undervalued waste products, such as the terracotta roof tiles that are everywhere. The reuse of materials in building construction reduces the environmental impact and is by far the most efficient form of waste use. Designers raffaello rosselli and luigi rosselli collaborated on this new office building, translating their own studio experiments with the reuse of waste materials into a practical project that aims to be a model for future projects.
The la colmena project began with research at the scrapyard to find suitable targets for filtering out the intense sunlight from the main façade through shading facilities. The terracotta tile is a suburban icon that is easily overlooked because it is easily purchased and therefore there is not an adequate recycling market. In addition to its versatility, the terracotta tiles fully demonstrate the character of the original material, with no tile exactly resembling it, cast in clay and fired by hand.
The design process for the building is also unique. For the complex building structure, the façade design was conceived primarily through a number of comprehensive tests and hand-made models. The designers pioneered an intuitive form of design with hand-made models. This process allows for rapid prototyping and includes testing of many types of tiles.
Each tile is placed according to its function and these models are the basis for the final design. Pointed tiles are placed at the bottom due to their strength, covering the solid arch shoulders. The use of equilateral tiles reduces visual obstruction on the sightline. A bevelled tile is used at the top as it has less clearance and slopes northwards. The variation of the tiles hides the edges of the tiles and thus reduces the impact of the structural load on the building.
The value of recycled materials
Everyone wants a nice and comfortable living environment, and a wide range of building materials provides a solid basis for this. Whether they are traditional or modern waste materials, we hope to explore new ways of using them through experimentation, making the most of their green properties and giving them aesthetic value to meet the functional and aesthetic needs of human use.
The current environment has caused a series of problems to varying degrees, and the most important way to alleviate the current environmental problems is the recycling of resources, and for architecture, more attention should be paid to the rational selection and use of building materials. On the whole, focusing on saving resources and protecting the environment from the beginning of building materials is an inevitable choice to achieve ecological construction and sustainable environmental development.
Ecological building materials meet the requirements of sustainable development and combine development with the environment, modernity and the long term. Not only does it meet the needs of modern people to live and work in peace and health and live a long life, but it also does not affect the greater needs of future generations for the environment and resources.
The development of the building materials industry and the process of greening is not only a matter of the current development of the building materials industry, but also a matter of whether or not it can converge with the international market and whether or not it can sustainably develop the people’s livelihood of the country. To this end, we should strive to promote the development of various types of ecological building materials with a strategic vision, a sense of urgency of the times and a sense of historical responsibility, and use them to build healthy, safe, beautiful and comfortable buildings and indoor environments.