Assoc. Prof. Johan Voordouw’s market design wins recognition in international competition

November 10, 2023

A paper-cut collage depicting a corridor
A paper-cut collage showcasing an architecture and plan.

A project by Associate Professor Johan Voordouw has received an Honourable Mention in an international competition to design a market that integrates principals of the circular economy.


Voordouw submitted two drawings for an architecture refit store for Havana, Cuba to the Market 2.0 competition, organized by Non-Architecture Competitions. He completed the project, “The Found Re-Fined”, with summer research assistant Daria Hutsul.


“Like many countries, Cuba is in the midst of a housing crisis with many families living precariously in unsafe conditions,” they write. “This market aims to support the surrounding neighbourhood by recycling, re-using, and repairing building materials to consolidate historic buildings in a perilous state.”


The Found Re-Fined Market is in the southeast corner of Central Havana on a derelict site along a crook of the Padre Varela.


Like in a building re-fit store, people can find doors, windows, handles, gates, and other refurbished building elements to make historic buildings more resilient to inclement weather and reduce the speed of deterioration.


The market also teaches skills to repair exterior and structural and building elements such as plasterwork, brick, and concrete. Here, collapsed building materials can become aggregate for new, continuing the lifecycle of hard-to-process, energy intensive construction waste.


“As per the principles of a non-growth circular economy, this market advocates for the finance, energy, and resources to be reallocated away from the production of new, carbon-intensive construction materials towards those that already contain embodied carbon,” say Voordouw and Hutsul.


“While Cuba is a small economy, and Havana a mere fraction of that waste, Havana offers an ideal case study for a progressive economic model which foregrounds rehabilitation over demolition.”


Their drawings are two-and-a-half dimensional, laser cut models. Each is about two centimetres deep. The first image illustrates beautiful historic buildings, with a map of Havana indicating the location of the market.


The second drawing uses found and recycled paper and card to show the interior of the market with its expressive structure and hanging cages. These elements modulate the sunlight while offering needed storage space to display the found materials.


The competition called for two drawings and gave freedom of scale, site, or program.


It asked designers for visionary concepts for a market (indoor or outdoor) that aims to eliminate waste and promote the continuous use of resources through strategies such as recycling, reusing, and repairing products.


With entries from around the world, the jury awarded one winner, seven honourable mentions, six editorial picks, and 10 finalists. See them here.


Instagram: @johan_voordouw