Pallets -- as long as we're careful of where we get them from -- are well-known as a cheap and widely available building material, showing up in furniture, installations and even emergency housing. Giving a new take on the brise-soliel, French architect Stephane Malka transforms the facade of a Parisian student housing project with this proposal featuring a series of hinged pallets, which act as sun-shading and a movable membrane for natural ventilation.
Malka's AME-LOT proposal for this residence on rue Amelot repurposes used pallets to create an unified surface, an undulating skin of wood. As Malka explains on ArchDaily, the point is to use materials that are already existing and in circulation, rather than building new, thus avoiding a kind of ecological paradox:
In reality, ecological strategies often generate an over-production of materials, becoming energy-vores and clients of factories, the polluters of the world. The real ecological combat is within the re-appropriation of materials and experimentation with ready-made objects, far from the so-called benevolence of subsidized agencies.
Instead of intensively building a new structure, the forms and manner of assemblage of the pallets creates interest in itself, says Malka:
No building is destroyed, and no pollution generated. The skin consists of an existing module: the wooden pallet. Held using horizontal hinges, the pallets contract towards the top, allowing privacy or large openings. The modularity of the various pallets creates varied geometries, which are based on use and constantly regenerated.
Though it seems that this study doesn't address too many details of long-term material lifespan nor issues with sourcing, Malka's proposal does present an intriguing way to reuse pallets in a more permanent way than the temporary pavilions and garden variety furniture we've seen in the past. More over at ArchDaily and Malka Architecture.