Upcycling in today’s society is still relatively rare, with most
upcycling occurring in works by artists and product designers.
This ‘creative reuse’ is a form of minimising waste products in a
more effective process than recycling. This study deals with the
design of an upcycling centre and how interior architecture is a
framework for the upliftment of the host building in the Pretoria
CBD, the model inhabitants (namely waste pickers and crafts
people), waste materials and the surrounding environment.
Many people perceive the self-starter occupation of streetwaste
picking as being dirty and inferior. However, those who
practice waste picking usually do so as a means of survival,
and can offer valuable assistance in environmental sustainability.
Waste pickers are often isolated as a social group – unable
to reach higher income levels or living conditions. Ignorance
around this informal economic sector has led to a divided
and fragmented society, particularly within the Pretoria CBD
(identified as the location for the intervention).
Finding sustainable solutions to waste reuse and job creation,
such as this proposed upcycling centre, which actively engage
various members of society (in this case, waste pickers, crafts
people and the broader community) is important. This is
because such programmes can be beneficial to communities
living in dense neighbourhoods, as they can provide the key
blocks of cohesiveness and symbiosis for building a prosperous
The interior architecture discipline is relevant here as being
a tangible framework to enable cultural production of new
objects, environmental sustainability, cultivation of human
capital and a support system for model inhabitants. Waste
material and discarded products can inform the character of
an interior space, and reflect user intervention with built forms
that echo the activity and daily routines within the community.
As a facilitator, the interior architecture has been imagined to
stimulate, inspire, revive and be perceived as a cyclic journey
of renewal. This is the concept which governs the experience,
activity and process for users entering the proposed upcycling
This proposed intervention of the identified Minty’s Tyres
building utilises three theories to guide and inform its
responses. Firstly, environmental psychology theory guides
the alteration of the building to respond to community and
social inclusion strategies. Secondly, adaptive reuse theory
informs the alteration of the building in response to the new
programme as a form of upcycling and improving the building’s
user experience and resource efficiency. Finally, regenerative
design theory based on restorative actions and technology
is consulted to produce a system that is both efficient and
sustainable. The architecture itself (i.e. the physical building,
materials and structure) is developed alongside the actual
site and ecological surroundings.
Mini Dissertation MInt(Prof)--University of Pretoria 2018.