Recycled pallets: material of the moment

There is a real buzz around wooden pallets at the moment.

Over the past week, three pallet projects have received attention across the blogosphere, each very different and showcasing the material’s diverse potential.

Footprint introduced Martin Kaltwasser’s Bankside Jellyfish Theatre back in July and it’s now nearing completion. Due to open to the public later this week, it stands as a monument to hundreds of humble pieces of timber recycled from Covent Garden Market. As the primary cladding material, the pallet is used to form both a regular patterned wall and a dynamic twisting sculptural element:

Inhabitat recently posted images of I-Beam’s emergency wooden pallet shelter. The design recycles pallets used to transport aid-packages and transforms them directly into a construction material. This signficantly improves the efficiency of post-disaster construction, reducing the time, cost and footprint of the relief effort.

I-Beam's emergency shelter

Yet ‘pallet architecture’ need not always directly reflect the striped aesthetic of the pallet. Architects can also be magicians with materials, transforming them into something new and unexpected. A fantastic example of this is Matthias Loebermann’s stunning Palettenpavillon in Germany as featured on BLDGBLOG here.

In the hands of the right designer, with a bit of lateral thinking, pallets can be transformed into dynamic and exciting architecture. Excuse the pun, but architects are often at their most creative when working with a restricted palette of materials.

Plentiful and often wasted, pallets are a fantastic resource for construction.

Tierney Lovell

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