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Fibro waste – Upcycled sugarcane as a new architectural material

Up-cycled sugarcane as a new architectural material. Bikitsha, E. Unit 17. 2020.

Edward Bikitsha




Gregory Katz, Nico van Loggerenberg




Fibro waste is a resilient crystalised cellulose that is found in the fibres of plant crops such as coconut, pineapple and sugarcane. The interests of the project lie in harvesting these valuable fibres that are otherwise discarded. Processing tools that chop, roll and spin provide a platform for a new Fibro Waste industry using reclaimed fibres from agricultural crop waste.

The project’s focus is on three forms of refined end-products: rope, composite materials and woven mesh. The project aims to develop new building components for both indoor and outdoor use.

Agriculture creates more unskilled jobs than any other sector in this economy. This thesis aims to develop building skills, and create a new range of jobs in agri-processing, thereby alleviating poverty.

This project aims to redefine the way we see agricultural waste – utilising it as a new material for space-making in the built environment thereby improving sustainability. Reimagined spaces are for shelter but are not limited to the framing of the unit but may suggest a scale shift to larger platforms. This could create jobs for unskilled workers in South Africa, and contribute to ‘closing the loop’ on the creation of waste to promote a more circular economy.