Story / Friend
THE RECYCLE x BUILD PROJECT
A building that will be built out of predominantly recycled materials. A new school wing that will use
solar and rain harvesting, and will treat wastewater with a closed loop plant-based water filtration
system. Recycle+Build Brazil is a project that will be used as a pilot project for low-income housing with
the governing municipality and the new wing will be used by the children and the community to
reconnect to the river. At the center of it all we find Maria Kuzma. A dedicated young architect who also
is one of the best freeride snowboarders in the world. She is a free spirit, roaming the earth meeting
new people and new cultures, constantly learning, evolving and inspiring others to face the global
challenges. Educated in New Zealand while snowboarding in the northern hemisphere winters, Maria
Kuzma’s professional life has taken her to fascinating places across the globe – from Ahmedabad in
India to Bali, Austria and New York City in the U.S.
Tell us about the Recycle+Build Project!
The project is born from the encouragement and support of Thule and project partner Pedro Oliva.
Pedro and I shared the same vision regarding our passions with nature and sustainability. Since then we
have been working towards realizing a building project to be built mainly out of recycled materials, and
that implements sustainable systems. Last year we received confirmation on a site from the local
municipality that fits perfectly with our build brief and story. Since then I have been working on this
project while snowboarding and developing other Recycle+ Build projects.
What do you want to achieve?
Our overall aim is to apply what we have learned in our Brazil project to many other projects. Our
Recycle+Build Brazil project intends to raise the collective awareness of the building users and their
relationship with waste, water, and nature.
Who have you chosen to include in this project?
Our friends and consultants feel like a coalition with the intention to take action and make a change.
The Sao Jose dos Campos based recycling factory ’Dutrafer’ is a substantial contributor to the project,
providing recycled materials and space to treat and prepare the materials. The vegan superfood
company biO2 Organics is providing building materials that are recycled from their products. Ceiling and
wall lining panels made from their Tetra Paks is one example! The governing municipality is supplying
Recycle+Build with the resources we need for document applications and a site for the project that
neighbors a public school.
The school and its students will be involved with maintenance and education schedules, ensuring a
constant interaction and activation with the rainwater harvesting and plant-based water filtration
systems. Even our consultants are themselves super inspiring!
Are there more to come?
Yes! A second Recycle+Project is in the works, as well as a collaboration between Recycle+Build and
Garden Studio, a project in New York City with social entrepreneur and multimedia artist Sarah
Kjelleren. Garden Studio’s mission is to connect and empower a global network of millennials to drive
positive social change through enriching live/work environments. We aim to merge nature and
technology to improve the quality of life for freelance workers. Cities will have to meet the needs of the
projected exponential rise of independent workers, who will outnumber non-freelancers within a decade.
Garden Studio will create affordable housing and enriching communal work share spaces for young
creatives. We aim to design our living building to incorporate a series of balanced ecosystems including
smart technology, sustainability, communal biodiverse gardens, immersive green architecture and faceto-
You are a Thule ambassador. What is this like?
Being a Thule ambassador to me means working hard alongside like-minded ambassadors to represent
a company that shares the same values, working towards goals together that sustain a hopeful future
Maria Kuzma and Pedro Oliva got to know each other through both being members of Thule Crew, the
global Thule team of ambassadors. Today they are both involved in the Recycle+Build project and
dedicated to do everything they can to make this world a better place for our future generations.
Maria is a true global citizen. She was born in Brisbane and spent large parts of her childhood in Papua
New Guinea, Indonesia before settling in New Zealand. Today she lives and works in New York, in Bali
and in Austria and on top of being a successfull architect she has earned a reputation as one of the best
female snowboard freeriders in the world.
Mother is Filipino/Spanish and father is Scottish/Polish.
Master's degree in Architecture.
Snowboarding, surfing, architecture and meaningful design in detail.
To compete on an international level and to explore and be exposed to many different aspects of the
Lived in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Indonesia, USA and Austria.