The Arch

Genk, Belguim 2017
A project by Constructlab

image credit: Constructlab + OST collective
On the site of an abandoned coal mine in Genk, Belgium an arch made of recycled plastic forms a gateway to the site. A temporary laboratory was established to live, design and build bricks from recycled plastic. The shape of the arch itself is designed to exploit the properties of its material, which has a predominant resistance in compression. Because plastic is lightweight, integrated post tensioning cables provide strength and stiffness against wind loads. due to high termal expension and contraction of the entire arch compression springs are anchoring the system in a flexible way.  The resulting hybrid construction in the shape of a catenary arch constitutes a resilient structure while being easily assembled and disassembled. The entire brick consists of local, recycled domestic plastic waste. Houndreds of tiles from collected bottelcaps have been “baked” by the local comunity in ccollaborative workshops.