Apoorva Tadimalla

Apoorva Tadimalla

New York, NY, US


Hybrid Plastiglomerate

In WeWork alone, one person generates an average of 30 grams of plastic waste per day enough to generate 1 cubic inch of usable material. So in a week 250 people on a floor produce about 600 kg of plastic which when melted is equivalent to a 10 cubic inches. This project explores the possibility of using the WeWork’s plastic waste in order to build an intervention with robotic 3D printing.

 As designers, we not only document existing conditions but also put things together in new ways, adding value through form, image, coloration, organization, etc. Architect’s capacity to link an aesthetic begins with materiality. In our design we are trying to create a “plastiglomerate” which is plastic + aggregate that possesses a monolithic quality.

 Through our project we are trying to create community spaces in WeWork’s office buildings through plastic recycling, where the recycling starts from sorting the plastic waste. The waste generated from using coffee cups, bottles, wrappers, etc. will be first separated into three categories i.e. PETG, HDPE and polystyrene. This sorted waste is then washed, shredded and processed before being fed into the robot. The robot is optimized for recycling plastics to create a printable material.

 The intervention investigates the eventual co-relation between design strategies and new processes of robotic production using micro materiality modification of the building. It is an emergent product of human and waste processes, building an intangible sludge. It is an example of a post- natural condition existing outside a modernist division.

 The surface conditions through the intervention on the outer side is very smooth and is evenly colored enhancing a welcoming atmosphere for a person, where as the internal surfaces are uneven, transparent and has a textural quality. The overall effect of the space is extremely monolithic. These create private and semi-private work spaces in and around the intervention.

 This plastic deposition does not “index” their formation. It is a process that involves degrees of complexity and many other factors acting at different scales. A process that is impossible to repeat precisely, which brings out the aesthetic in the bright yet moody, uncanny structure.

 The heat sensors present on the robotic arm helps keep a track of the optimum indoor temperature. When the area gets really heated up the robot will stop printing the structure. The motion sensors are attached to the lattice which track the occupancy of the space. When the Space is occupied by the people the light will go on.

 To conclude our idea, a key point researched through this project was the possibility of transferring the fibrous morphology of the plastic waste to reinforced composite building material, which would lead to new tectonic possibilities in architecture. The whole intervention is a reminiscent of plastic waste. And hence we call it the Hybrid Plastiglomerate.

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Status: School Project
Location: New York, NY, US
My Role: Team of 2
Additional Credits: Team Partner - Jainika Shah