Condition of a RB


What are the condition for a rubble bonanza ? or to say in another way, under which circumstances an environnement become profitable for a new economic market, which in our case want to make rubbles [construction waste] a product of primary interest.

An interesting one would be that for a certain amount of time [20-30 years], the city london cannot produce any more new construction material. The total and absolute stoppage of any production.

From this point the city of london becomes similar to what the gold market context is : the gold market has this particularity that, within its main environnement, the world, the quantity of good [gold] is known, stable and finite. The quantity of gold on the planet has been almost the same for the last 20 years. And that’s why gold is a very interesting ‘currency’ for economic systems to base their value on, because it is a known and stable market. 

No more production means that the city becomes a finite environnement, at least in the ‘materials’ it is composed of – not in its form; which is what is interesting because it calls for new urban policies based on rubble – a policy made so that there cannot be unused rubble anymore. And that rubble becomes the primary and ultimate product of construction.

But on the contrary to gold, because we deal with the city and its many uncontrollable faces, on top of which the fact that it remains an environnement inhabited and socially charged, it is finite but remains to a rather unstable stage, and here refers to an economic system much closer to what the bitcoin is.

For me, this situation/condition calls for a lot of interesting practices, agendas, under-conditions,.. that will define and exhibit a rubble bonanza :

[1] A construction becomes the immediate follower of a deconstruction.

[2] Acknowledging London’s real estate boom, the real estate market in London would become very instable – wealthy investors and contractors having the potential power / money to turn down existing building in order to be able to construct theirs.

[3] It should be cost effective not to move material too far away form the place they have been demolished to the place a new building is constructed, leading to a slow ghettoisation of materials : a brick district, a concrete one, a wood one, a plastic one,…

(2045) : Oxford street now separate the concrete district with the brick district. Although it has remain one most touristic street of london, the clear difference between the two district is visible from the street itself. 

[4] The almost immediate birth of a black market where material are taken out of building to be carried to other places for a lower price. Holes (they are back) therefore become almost an economic and politic statement of resistance.

(2032): Seen through several CCTV stills the robbery of important quantity of stone and concrete. Headline of the Tabloid on the following morning […] :

Screen Shot 2017-04-27 at 17.55.07




[5] Other demolition practices are needed in order to re-use rubble as easily as possible


Architecture – as gold being melt and reform – enters a continuum where non of its part can be considered as being lost. The city’s construction is a never ending loop – and can be embodied by the diagram i presented during the last tables where, rather than having a production – consumtpion – disposal – recycling cycle, we can trace a line of use and re-use, and re-use, again and again,…

I also think that this new condition can be associate with a reflexion on the aesthetization of waste. what a rubble bonanza does is to make rubble a product that we can make profit out of. And therefore tends, because of the nature of rubble themselves (un-necessary objects, leftovers) to eliminate rubble. By giving it a potential value we are giving them a [urgent] function. A rubble bonanza means the end of rubble as we know them.

Now one can argue that another way to resist the bonanza is to save rubble from being functional objects. And it might be where rubble could be value for their pure aesthetic (surely link, in our case, with its history). Let say that, in order to build a new building, an investor manage to demolish the left wing of westminster. We can suppose that, due to the history of westminster, some people could be ready to keep, as a souvenir, a fragment, a brick, a piece of ceramic, a pipe, which belonged to the building, before it gets to be use for another one.

(2050) : ‘a pile of bricks are exhibit on a white plinth at the Tate Britain. The caption says BRICKS OF WESTMINSTER, 2023. 

The role of the architect ?

The role of the architect is less the one of the designer than it is the one of politician. Or of a curator for the city. Because from this emerge the notion of a perpetual arrangement of part, of building fragment. Perhaps in a very stupid way even. Perhaps a new housing building is made with the window frame of the Shard, but could only afford polycarbonate sheets as windows…

To be defined further

London is therefore a sort of testing ground for the rubble bonanza, which then needs to be speculate in other cities in the world. it needs to play on the space that exist between a critic of our society of consumption and a sort of grand projet at the scale of Europe (at least).

Ultimately, the project can be read as a sort of provocative bad case scenario for the Brexit, which, in any case, but even more if the E.U decide to go for hard negotiations toward UK. Brexit will tend to withdraw UK into itself. Having, I believe, our tables on the 7th of june, a day before Theresa May called for anticipated election in order to sit even more her government majority before the Brexit negotiations officially start, it will be a perfect time to present the project under this condition.

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