In February 2023, Brisant reported on the NEST experimental unit UMAR (Urban Mining & Recycling) in the Swiss town of Dübendorf near Zurich under the title “House of the future: more sustainability is not possible“. The pioneering work was developed by Werner Sobek, Dirk Hebel and Felix Heisel with the premise that all materials needed to produce a building must be completely reusable, recyclable or compostable.
From worktops made of waste glass, growing insulation material made of special fungal spores and colourful tile substitutes made of plastic waste – the unit is both a material warehouse and a material laboratory.
Worldwide, around half of all raw materials used in the construction sector are normally disposed of as waste. In times of rapidly advancing climate change, UMAR is intended to contribute to the overdue paradigm shift in the construction industry.