Rotterdam-based architect Jos de Krieger and a partner at Superuse Studios, came up with the concept to repurpose wind blades years ago.
In the past 16 years, architects have reused 27 blades into playgrounds, urban furniture, and a bus shelter. The latest model, a colorful climbing boulder constructed from a 65-foot-long wind blade, debuted at Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven. The boulder was displayed beside a sound barrier prototype and a signpost built from discarded blades.
This is the first option by Blade Made, a 2021 startup founded by Rotterdam-based New Citizen Design and US partner Newton Brown Urban Design. Blade Made wants to engage with wind farms, public space managers, and contractors to offer new applications for repurposed wind blades.
Design-wise, the possibilities are unlimited due to a wind blade’s variable design, which has a hollow round root, a tapering center, and a flat tip. In a perfect world, Blade Made would utilize the entire blade length. First playground used 95% of five 80-100 foot blades. Some blades were placed vertically as lighthouses or slides, while others formed a tunnel.
Many wind farms will be built along U.S. coastlines in the coming decade, bringing the wind energy market to $180 billion by 2027. Most wind blades endure 20 to 25 years, and most aren’t recyclable, thus they end up in landfills. In the U.S., companies will generate 2.2 million tons of garbage by 2050. Blade Made isn’t conserving these blades forever, but they are flattening the curve.
For an initiative that began in 2006, the architects’ portfolio of finished projects is small, but with a new firm specializing on reused wind blades, they hope acceptance will accelerate up, both in The Netherlands and the U.S., where they hope to build one project next year.
Image source: Superuse Studios