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Plastic School

This winning competition entry invokes an easily recognizable symbol of global waste trade: the international plastic pallet. Its life cycle spent in transit, the pallet is put to use shipping other plastics around the globe. As a structural object and as a literal representation of waste trade, the project’s use of the pallet avoids common tendencies to aestheticize plastic waste itself. Rather than producing an amalgamated form made from waste or a highly refined construction product made from recycled content, we choose to approximate between these two extremes.

Set as the underlying structural order of the building, the quotidian pallet is elevated to an architectonic level, its engineered porosity filtering light into the school’s lofted interior. The pallet is threaded through its forklift channels onto a repeating bay system and grouped to form two gabled structures that pivot around a pair of courtyards: one can be seen as an extension of the classroom, the other is offered to the community of Tulum. Encased in clear, recyclable corrugated plastic, the building is protected from the elements while allowing daylight to filter in. Conversely, the structure becomes a beacon for the community at night.

Collaboration: William Smith
Competition: Tulum Plastic School Competition Hosts: ArchstormingMom I’m Fine, LADLE