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Wipe Out Waste: Mad Architecture Employs Radical Circularity

A contemporary office building in Oslo is designed and built of 80% recycled materials.

A wooden railing from an old public swimming pool is transplanted as a new staircase. A ceiling grate from a motor room is revamped into an atrium railing. Lumber from a sauna becomes a ceiling. Tiles, hidden for ages, shine again.

Oslo’s KA13 is a groundbreaking project by Mad Architecture. They use ‘donor-buildings’ materials that were headed to the landfill and transplanted them into the design and construction of a new office building. The project is Norway’s first of its kind and puts reused building materials on center stage.

If you didn’t guess, the construction industry has a waste problem. Over 20% of the United States’s waste stream is from construction and demolition. Architecture, Design, and Construction also have a carbon problem. Buildings account for 40% of global carbon emissions, and 11% come directly from building materials and construction. How can designers and architects wipe out waste and dramatically reduce carbon emissions? Can construction join the circular economy? Can we re–use materials at a commercial and urban scale?

MAD Architecture’s Åshild Wangensteen Bjørvik will lead us through the process of building KA13, and tell us how she and her team did it.

About Mad Architecture

Mad thinks that good architecture and design must be founded on knowledge about the local community’s needs and local context, and they always design on behalf of the city. For Mad, each project is extraordinary – and they want all projects to contribute to positive and sustainable change.

Mad always challenges established practices in the search for new and better answers to how they can better meet climate and social challenges, with architecture, design and knowledge of urban and location development. They practice challenging each other, their customers, advisers and municipalities to find the right solution for exactly the place and the task that they are working on at all times.

Today Mad has a leading position in Norway regarding architecture and design based on reusable materials. Their overarching goal is to inspire more reuse architecture around the globe.

About Åshild Wangensteen Bjørvik


Architect, partner and CEO of Mad Oslo Åshild Wangensteen Bjørvik (born 1977 in Norway) was educated at NTNU in Norway and ENSAPLV in France. She has more than 19 years of experience as an architect, and joined Mad in 2008.

Åshild has been the team leader of several large-scale urban projects, including the Mad building in Oslo and Media City Bergen. She has also worked with the cutting-edge re-use project in Kristian Augusts gate 13. Her main goal as a CEO is to inspire, to build high performance teams and make people work well together.

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