The alteration not only embodies emergence and beginnings, but also signifies decay and ending. Cities and architecture in the societal transformation process are more often seen as fixed points of reference, but they also evolve and change with time. As interpersonal connections tear apart, old activities and needs disappear or new ones emerge, decay becomes visible in the physical environment, which, having lost its original purpose, is left unmaintained, neglected or unused.

The understanding of the life cycle in architecture urges a need for a new approach to the processes of environmental design based on circular principles that highlights not only the scenarios of construction, but also the maintenance, possible deterioration and re-use. Equally relevant to temporality is the emerging understanding of every building as a social and material knot, where even the smallest architectural solution activates a network of supply chains connecting urban and rural areas.

In order to implement the Green Deal and circular practices, Lithuania has set ambitious targets for the greater use of renewable, organic materials in public buildings. So what are the current material practices in the Lithuanian building sector? Would the application of organic materials create a truly sustainable and circular architectural practice? And how can the processes of growing, producing, supplying, applying and decomposing organic materials contribute to urban or regional development?

The workshop Altering Matter: decompose to grow invites to explore the possibilities of circular design in architecture – from learning about organic materials and emerging practices to finding solutions for decaying objects in need of renovation. The creative process of the workshop will take place in the VU Botanical Garden, Vingis section, which is located in a sensitive natural and historical environment that is awaiting change. Taking place in early autumn, the workshop will explore the intertwining themes of organic materials and renovation and will allow participants to explore alternative solutions both theoretically and practically.

The practical part of the workshop will be led by L’Atelier Senzu architects Wandrille Marchais and David Dottelonde together with ŠA atelier architects Gabriele Šarkauskienė and Antanas Šarkauskas.

L’Atelier Senzu is a collective of architects formed in 2014, in France, questioning the way architecture is made, finding alternatives to materials that consume energy and pollute the environment, developing new innovative processes and rethinking older methods. L’Atelier Senzu’s creative practice is based on thinking and doing, combining historical knowledge and future possibilities, questioning and regenerating with optimism what already exists.  

ŠA atelier is a creative duo of architects Gabrielė Šarkauskienė and Antanas Šarkauskas, who create architectural projects of different scales – residential, recreational and public facilities, outdoor spaces, interiors, exhibitions and furniture. ŠA atelier also organises educational architectural workshops for children.

The theoretical part of the workshop will analyse the context of the territory of the Vingis section of the VU Botanical Garden, the current situation and the need for change. It will also provide an overview of architectural practices, organic materials used in the construction sector, their characteristics and emerging challenges in Lithuania.

Open call ends on 17 July 2024, 23.59 (Vilnius time).

The workshop will be held in English.

Workshop capacity 20 participants.

Registration form:

Workshop is part of the European Circular Design alliance.