Sleek and futuristic, this wing-like structure is a research and education facility for the promotion of steel recycling – perched right over a junkyard where this recycling is carried out. The American Institute of Steel Reclamation in Sun Valley, California takes a close look at one of the most sustainable industries in the United States.
Designed by Jeffrey Dahl and Jan Lim, the building features three columns supporting an arc that give occupants, including the public, unobstructed views of the activity going on in the auto scrapyard below. Providing such education opportunities around what Dahl and Lim consider a fascinating topic could help spur public interest in recycling.
Because the population of cars in the U.S. is expected to grow to 1 billion by the year 2050, a 40% increase over 2008, more and more cars will end up in these junkyards, ready to be turned into new steel. Dahl and Lim designed the institute to be elevated four times above the current car height to represent this anticipated growth.
“The boomerang shape really highlights the machinery and technical beauty of a scrap yard, educating visiting in a first-person experience rather than pictures in a book or on a computer screen,” Dahl told EnviroMetal, a steel recycling blog. “There is always the library, the internet, or a local chapter of a steel organization, but just like the concept of my design, getting out and seeing steel in action first-hand is the best way… Today it may be a 10 year old car, but 1 week from now it can be the steel structure for a new school. This is a truly amazing process.”