Novacast, 27 miles away in Melksham, cast this solar shading. When specifying aluminium components produced using other fabrication techniques it is unwise to request more than 35 to 50 per cent recycled content, as this is the current limit of global supply of recycled aluminium, unless you can set up a specific local closed loop. Oliver Moos, MD of Gautschi Engineering GmbH, observed in 2015: “Approximately 47 per cent of the aluminium processed annually is made up of recycled material.” Norsk Hydro, in its plant at Holmestrand, near Oslo, recycle aluminium drink cans from the UK into rolled aluminium alloy sheet used to form standing seam roofing. They produced the roof sheeting of both the Velodrome and Aquatic Centre for the London 2012 Olympics. Aluminium alloy standing seam roof systems offer architects and building owners rapidly assembled roofs that are affordable, reliable and durable.


A key question for specifiers of aluminium alloys in the 21st century is where the aluminium comes from, and the power generation mix of that region. It is possible within a performance specification for a building to successfully request only hydroelectrically produced aluminium. We achieved this on the rooflights on a major office building in England, working with architects Bennetts Associates. The aluminium extrusions of the rooflights were sourced, using a competitive tender process, from a region that uses hydroelectric power to smelt aluminium – Québec, Canada, where the power mix

is 96 per cent hydroelectricity. This saves 500 kg CO2 equivalent when compared to the global power mix.

A Soluxio Solar Lamppost – an “exemplar of a circular economy” © Sapa Soluxio

Designed for disassembly Sapa’s collaborative Soluxio Solar Lamppost is modular, designed for disassembly (DfD), solar powered, highly integrated and equipped with intelligent sensors and locators. It is also an exemplar of a circular economy. It utilises circular aluminium extrusions to make the lamppost structurally efficient, slender, elegant and aerodynamic. It integrates solar cells in a circular glass enclosure which is not dependent on orientation, thus lampposts can be placed as needed to provide street and pavement lighting. FlexSol, the company which markets the lamppost, will collect and recycle existing posts and in turn the Soluxio can be relocated and or recycled readily, being DfD. As a mode of design thinking, DfD can enhance architecture, as architect and supply chain need to think through the assembly process. The Hive, designed by artist Wolfgang Buttress is a project that both raises awareness of ecology in terms of the plight of the honeybee, and is an exemplar of DfD. The UK pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, it was assembled by Stage One in just six months, including groundworks. Comprising almost 170,000 waterjet cut aluminium components, its bolted assembly facilitated its relocation to the Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, in summer 2016. Originally considered temporary, Buttress discussed the possibility of it having a final journey to a public park in Nottingham, where his studio is based. However, the Hive has been credited with raising attendance at Kew Gardens by 40 to 45 per cent and a planning application was logged with Richmond Council to make it permanent, subsequently granted this June. Its cultural value makes it more valuable than the sum of its environmental impacts. Aluminium is very versatile – offering design flexibility and

durability. It can be used to make an iPhone, Lord’s Media Centre, or a housing for experiments that examine the fabric of the Universe at the Large Hadron Collider. Architecture is more than packaging; in a confusing world littered with ephemera, it can provide an authentic voice. It can be both profound and purposeful.

NMAAHC’s form is direct response to the geometry of the Washington Monument © Michael Stacey

Professor Michael Stacey is senior partner at Michael Stacey Architects and Visiting Professor at the Bartlett, University College London


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