Trash Bunker

a Brief Introduction for Students

The Trash Bunker is a student-led material hub (located in Blaak on the ground floor) that aims to encourage students to reuse materials in their artistic practice and reduce waste. It is a give-and- take space: You can simply bring what you don’t need anymore and/or take what seems useful.

The Material Rescue Community is a Whatsapp group you can use to browse and get (large) materials from our storage. It is the best way to contact the student assistants to check if they might have the specific materials you are looking for. Making donations is also possible via this channel.

Making use of the Trash Bunker is a good way to make cheap projects and give materials a second life!

Moreover, you can look forward to conferences, events, but also publications organized by the Trash Bunker.

The Trash Bunker is an initiative for students by students so reach out if you have any questions or suggestions for improvement!

a Multi-Faceted Project

The Trash Bunker was initially established by a group of students as part of the Climate Camp course elective, then organized by the SPIN collective. Although it was originally supposed to be temporary, it was officially adopted by the academy in 2021.

Since then, the Trash Bunker has been an active part of the Living Station, which includes the Rooftop Garden and the Living Lab.


So Far, So Good

Last school year brought many improvements to the Trash Bunker. Thanks to the efforts of the student assistants, it became deeply rooted into the academy… and beyond!

The team improved the station by sorting materials better and hence making it easier to use. Furniture was built from leftover wood in order to store large materials within the station. Thanks to the FIT, wide drawers were saved to store oversized paper.

In 2023, the Trash Bunker got a new visual identity: a new logo and a graphic mapping for ease of use and navigation.

Outside of the academy, the Trash Bunker looked for collaborations with local companies and organisations to save materials and create waste streams. In this way, the team was able to work with the Maritiem Museum, the IFFR and a company that treats inks for printing, which donated a large amount of paper and sticker rolls to the school. These successful partner-ships will be renewed this year.

The students assistants travelled to the Ultra Dependent Public School at BAK in Utrecht, where they built a mini Trash Bunker with the help of Lucrative Dumpster Dive, an organisation that strives for circular economy in the NL.

The Trash Bunker worked hard to create awareness on waste handling within the academy, both among students and stations. The Material Rescue Community was created on WhatsApp to connect students and the Trash Bunker’s student assistants more easily. With the help of the assistants, many students were able to access the station’s basement storage to upcycle materials for their own projects.

As one assistant participated in the “Trash experiment” elective where students had to make new use of waste from the Publication Station, saving units for paper were designed for that station.

The team gathered a lot of materials from the Graduation Show for reuse, including a lot of ready-made exhibition furniture.


What’s Next?

This year, the team is willing to share its expertise and improve the collaborations within the academy. It will work with the stations to help them handle leftover materials better.

Together with FIT and events management, the Trash Bunker will explore the possibility of setting up a new rental platform  to help students finding exhibition furniture.

The station’s purpose is to infuse new habits among students and staff, by organizing conferences, events, but also by publishing.

Finally, the Trash Bunker hopes to see its community grow, both inside and outside the WdKA. The team will continue its efforts to collaborate with structures outside the academy and help students with their projects!

Latest News

The team is currently working on improving our visibility and communication within the WdKA

a Great Team


Aldje van Meer
Senior lecturer
(Living) Stations

Côme Roger-Dalbert
3rd year Graphic Design
Student assistant

Lisa Wantz
3rd year Animation
Student assistant

Zofia BochÍnska
3rd year Graphic Design
Student assistant

a Selection of Past Publications



Rooftop Garden

The rooftop has been transformed through the recent years into a garden but it is more than that! Its aim is to become a green oasis where we collaborate to do gardening, offer a place for well-being and an opportunity to connect with ‘nature’.

The roof was initiated by the SPIN collective (students WdKA who run the space) with the Living Station. During the academic year 2022/23, this student collective organized events, which are related to Pagan Festivities. These Festivities aim to activate, build up, grow, care, come together and learn for and with the Rooftop Garden. Pagan festivities are closely linked to cycles of nature and human attunement to the seasons and the earth.

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PROGRAM 2023-2024

Under development

Plant swap event as last year in early spring


Past PROGRAM 2022-2023

Mabon(September 29nd)
The 22nd of September marks the day of the autumn equinox when day and night have the same length. Mabon announces the beginning of autumn, it is a moment of balance between night and day and might be the perfect moment to observe the plants that survived the warm summer and reflect on the past activities from the Rooftop Garden. The workshops will be centered around the embodied experience of space by observing and listening.

Paper Making Workshop
Together with the Publication Station the Rooftop Garden hosted a paper-making workshop at the rooftop.
Making paper gives a second life to many materials, it can be leftover paper, textiles, dry plants
The aim was to invite students to reflect on their positionally as art students.
The droughts this summer created a very hostile environment for the plants, therefore to keep this part of the garden’s history alive we decided to make paper from the dead plants and recycled paper from the trash bunker.

Samhain (November 4th)
From October 31st autumn storms may tear through city streets, bringing majestic trees to their knees, traffic to a standstill, damaged buildings and causing long-lasting change to small urban pockets of woodland. It can appear to be devastating but of course, out of change, new things can emerge. In Autumn we will be getting ready for the cold and long winter. It is the perfect time to prepare for hibernation! We propose to spend time together learning from what is dead and hidden.

Yuletide takes place around the longest night of the year; it is a dark moment, but from then on the world will brighten up again and the days will become longer. The perfect moment to think about hibernation, rest, and sleep.


1st of February, about halfway between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. ‘Imbolc’ meaning ‘in the belly’ refers to the pregnancy of ewes at this time of year. This Sabbath announces spring, it is associated with purification, fruitfulness and the power of the light, of the sun. The earth is slowly awakening. We want to talk about the power of life and the ownership of the belly, Imbolc.

Ostara occurs when Earth’s equator is directly in line with the Sun, causing the hours of light and darkness to be equal. It is the time of the year when we put the first seedlings in the ground. Our bodies are slowly awakening and we are starting to open up and connect with our surroundings. Commoning, coming together, exchanging. New projects are starting, new ideas are being planted, and new groups are being formed.

It is a time to share food, welcome tree branches into the home and gather herbs with friends. It is associated with fertility. By now plants seem to be growing by the minute, many trees are in blossom, butterflies have begun to return and a wealth of herbs are in their prime.

Midsummer (June 21st)
Many rites of the Midsummer holiday are connected with water, fertility and auto-purification. The traditions include singing songs and dancing until the sun sets, telling tales, greeting the rising midsummer sun and washing the face with a morning dew and floating flower wreaths on the water.


Soil project

Dye fabric with food


Field labs

The field lab is an educational program within the Living Station, which takes place at a specific location in Rotterdam or outside the Netherlands. The specific context itself, the experts connected to this location and the stakeholders at hand provide specific input regarding a certain topic. Through experimentation and research on-site; dealing with the topic ‘matter’ at hand, students get to know the challenges of this ‘local’ setting. This hybrid and cross-pollinating approach will allow all current and future stakeholders to connect remotely and reflect on common issues both intimately and globally.


Blue city has been often involved

In 2023 the Electives “Bio-light” took place at TU Delft with Teresa van Dongen

In 2022 during the Electives, we had an exploration of Rotterdam from the waterside and discussed Nature rights with Jessica den Outer

Living Station Lab

The Living Station Lab is the research laboratory connected to the stations within the Willem de Kooning Academy.  In the Lab, which is located at Wijnhaven 01.118, we are questioning practices within arts and design. At the core of our activities, we are investigating how to make and collaborate with ‘living’ and biological systems. The intersection of art, design, and biology provides a fertile ground for creative exploration and critical reflection on the relationship between humans, nature and technology. These interdisciplinary fields emerged in the mid-20th century and continue to evolve and expand.

Students get introduced to collaborating with living ecosystems and get acquainted with topics regarding:

  • biomimicry – our post on this topic HERE and more references in our archive
  • biomaterials and biofabrication – see post HERE 
  • biophilic- and regenerative design.

The Living Station Lab is a learning environment with facilities and technologies to investigate and experiment with different microorganisms. We have microscopes, a sterile Bio cabinet, incubators, an autoclave and all the materials to work safely in the lab. We also have books to be consulted in our space.


Station Skills

Welcome to the Living Station” is a requirement when you want to work by yourself in the lab. These Station Skills teach you the basics of how to work with micro-organisms. Have a look at the other Stations Skills we offer.


Individual consultation

If you are wondering about what can be done in our lab, you can have a look at projects that have been done there by students.

You are welcome to visit us and share your project with us. We can facilitate and help you.

Check the lab planning or send an email

The lab is usually open from Monday to Thursday