General Motors continues to advance its recycling initiatives and looks for new ways to ensure waste finds a productive place. Most recently, GM approached Texas A&M students with a challenge: design a building with an envelope made from automotive manufacturing waste.
The results were impressive. The challenge was to design a 27,000 square-foot museum that incorporates an offal—thin sheet metal left over when stamping out car parts—within the building’s physical interior and exterior separation. The judging panel utlimately chose the design seen above, created by Yingzhe Duan. The offal offers a functional, yet practical, take on design.
Normally, architects design projects first and consult materials later. This challenge had students backward engineering their designs to meet the challenge.
“Typically architects will design first and then figure out which material will fit,” said Dr. Ahmed K. Ali, the director of the resource-based Design Research Lab. “Our students thought about the process in a new way. I call this approach ‘synergistic means-oriented design.’ They looked at a challenge – in this case, manufacturing waste – and identified an application to use it.”
Eventually, GM hopes to facilitate a major change in the circular economy—one economy where things are reused and passed along for a better purpose without simply recycling products.