Materials without Borders:  The Initiative and its social impact potential for the architecture industry

Materials without Borders: The Initiative and its social impact potential for the architecture industry

Deconstruction and building material reuse is of utmost importance for sustainable development. But how can we develop innovative business models to better leverage the power of the sector? Can we do this in ways that engage the whole architecture industry, while also having a positive social impact on communities here and abroad? To explore those opportunities, this session presents the case of the "Materials Without Borders" initiative, a building material reuse program under development by a Montreal-based charity called Architecture Without Borders Quebec (AWBQ). After a decade of architectural assistance to vulnerable populations and spontaneous used and new material donations reclaimed for its projects, AWBQ has decided to develop this program as an integral part of its business and social impact models. As the official humanitarian arm of the Order of Architects of Quebec (OAQ), AWBQ counts every architect of the province among its members, an asset to promote building material reuse throughout the industry. Could the “Materials Without Borders” program be successfully replicated by other organisations in North-America and abroad? The audience will be more than welcome to discuss the potential of this initiative.

Bruno Demers:  Trained in sociology and entrepreneurship, Bruno Demers is the executive director of Architecture Without Borders Quebec (AWBQ), a humanitarian organisation affiliated to the Order of Architects of Quebec. Prior to AWBQ, Bruno has worked as education director at the Canada Green Building Council, to develop courses and conferences about LEED, urban planing, architecture and building products. In 2011, he created RénoCyclage, a project to promote the best practices and business models existing in the building material reuse sector, for which he has given talks and advised some startups in Quebec. He also worked as a freelance journalist to cover the COP21 Paris Climate conference in 2015 and Quito's UN Habitat III sustainable cities summit in 2016. Bruno strongly believes deconstruction and reuse are cornerstones of the ecological transition. He is happy to return to the Decon & Reuse Conference, which he last attended in 2013.

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