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European architect quarries rubble on-site for restoration


A French architect has developed a new “on-site quarrying” concept, seeing rubble from demolished structures recycled into projects constructed in its place.

Anna Saint Pierre’s new in-situ recycling technique called Granito has been adopted by SCAU, the architecture firm for whom she works. The company has been commissioned to upgrade the Le Parissy office block it originally constructed itself in Paris in 1997.

Saint Pierre wants to take 182 tonnes of unwanted granite façade from the current structure, and reprocess the material to produce terrazzo granite tiles for the updated building.

The École nationale supérieure des Arts Décoratifs academic was awarded the Best Conscious Design prize for the concept this year by WantedDesign, a New York-based platform for the design and international creative community.

The different grades of recycled crushed materials collected by architect and proponent Anna Saint Pierre. Image courtesy of SCAU Architecture,

The façade’s stones, fashionable in the 1980s and 1990s, came from quarries in Brittany, but needed to be removed and replaced by metal panels to adapt the building to thermal insulation standards.

“The construction industry raises many environmental problems. It requires the extraction of colossal quantities of raw materials and produces just as much waste,” Saint Pierre said in an interview with WantedDesign.

“Mass-produced rubble is today the subject of increasing regulations and, in the perspective of circular transition, reuse and recycling can become a source of creation for the building trade.”

She said unwanted buildings could be considered as future “quarries” – a starting point rather than an end point in the life cycle of building materials.

Saint Pierre has also been using the in-situ recycling process to create gabion walls, including for a future housing project. Since embarking on the project earlier this year, she has worked to tweak the process to become more energy-efficient.

“I hope that current projects, such as Granito in Parissy, will progress as planned until their realisation on a large scale.”

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