The Future of Housing? Brighton’s Waste House Proves it’s Rubbish!
Although we are now all far more aware of our responsibilities when it comes to recycling and environmental concerns than we were years ago, there are still some industries that create unnecessary amounts of waste.
Property development is one such area, with construction and demolition works generating tonnes of materials that go unused. In fact, for every five houses built in the UK, another could be constructed from the waste generated.
Or so says Duncan Baker-Brown, a senior lecturer, architect and director of ‘sustainable design’ company BBM…
The Brighton Waste House
In an attempt to back up his point, Baker-Brown, apprentices from a local social housing maintenance provider and 253 students from across the faculties of the University of Brighton have spent the last year creating The Brighton Waste House – a liveable structure built entirely from materials that have been thrown out.
With roof shingles made from leftover carpet tiles, to floppy discs and toothbrushes for insulation, the creation has been erected on campus at the university, and will fittingly serve as the art faculty’s research and design workshop. It claims to be the UK’s only permanent building of its kind, and aims for zero compromise in its practical function in order to demonstrate the reusability of many of the materials that are wasted during construction.
This isn’t the first time BBM have embarked on such a project. Back in 2008, the group took control of the House That Kevin Built – a prefabricated house that was Europe’s first one to be made from organic material – as part of Channel 4’s Grand Designs Live.
The Waste House is based on similar principles, and can count among its component parts 4,000 DVD cases, 2 tonnes of denim jeans, 20,000 toothbrushes, 2,000 floppy discs and 2,000 carpet tiles.
The building is the first of its kind to comply with all building regulations and planning approval requirements, with reclaimed timber and plywood utilised for beams, columns and joists and ground-granulated blast furnace slag providing the foundations.
Weatherproof cladding made from 2,000 carpet tiles covers the exterior, and the young workers provided all the furniture themselves with homemade chairs and cabinets.
Most of the waste is used as insulation, ensuring that heating costs are kept to a minimum, and Baker-Brown is keen to encourage the students to consider thermal and ventilation issues when designing living spaces.
The university runs a Master’s degree based around Sustainable Design, and these pupils will obviously benefit from analysing the home throughout its lifespan. However, the building will also be open to the community, with a number of workshops and events exploring the themes of sustainable living taking place.
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