Recycling is the only solution to the excessive amounts of garbage we produce on daily basis. Most landfill sites are overloaded with materials that once could have been put into a very good use, yet their “owner” was careless to do so and found it much more convenient to simply dump them and hope that nature will clean his/her mess in about a million years.
The good news is, this trend is slowly disappearing, recycling is becoming more of a daily routine than a duty, and more and more art shows contain beautiful peaces made of something that once had an entirely different purpose. But a team of over 265 students from Brighton University, UK, took the concept even further. They used waste and recycled materials to construct an entire house.
The amazing building stands proudly in the Grand Parade campus of the University. The initiative is incredible, and it has one sole purpose- to demonstrate that “there is no such thing as waste, just stuff in the wrong place”. I had to quote the organizers here because it is a brilliant saying. The design took around three months to develop, involving 253 students, who were led by BBM Architects Director and senior lecturer Duncan Baker-Brown. To construct it, they needed the help of additional 12 people.
So, let’s see what went into the waste house– 2,000 used carpet tiles, 4,000 DVD cases, 20,000 toothbrushes, 2 tons of denim jeans and 2,000 of the good old floppy discs. There is also recycled wood, that was used to make the frame, and 11 tons of chalk waste and clay that made the rammed-earth wall, so that the house is also made energy-efficient. To stay on the topic of energy efficiency, insulation was created by using 4,000 VHS video cassettes (Remember these? You have them in a cupboard somewhere in the basement, I am sure), while the flooring is made of damaged plywood and the window seals are made of 500 bike inner tubes. Only a few bits are not recycled or used, and these are the features required by health and safety standards, which include the electrical wiring and the plumbing. Here is a video link for a quick preview.
In my opinion, this is not only sustainable architecture in all its glory, but also the coolest most creative assignment that could ever be given to students- it is almost like, if you want to be an architect, take this pile of garbage and turn into something useful.
For now, the house will be an exhibition space and studio, which will host various ‘green’ events for school children. This makes a trip to Brighton worth taking, I think.
Image (c) BBM University of Brighton