Recycled Buildings

In an effort to become more sustainable, green, or what have you people have started to look more at what we currently have rather then what we can have that we can make better.  It seems like one of the things that we in the west have become best at is producing waste.  Western countries produce nearly 5 pounds of waste per capita every day.  This is in contrast to Asian and African nations which vary from 2.5 to less than 1 lbs per day.

Demolition of buildings accounts for 25-30% of the waste produced in the United States each year.  The number has continued to grow over the years and has been relentless in its climb.  As the generation that grew up with the motto “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”, we have a responsibility to counteract this movement.

A shift has started to reuse many materials.  In the UK, a house was just built that claimed to be the first house made entirely of recycled materials.  Insulation is a mix of hemp, clay, bottles, straw and carpet tiles.  The majority of the walls are made of lumber from local construction sites.

House made entirely of recycled materials

Many other examples are quite a bit more bizarre, like a Buddhist temple made entirely out of Heineken bottles help together with mortar or a house covered in old tires.  Unfortunately, the “kitsch” examples only hinder the acceptance of recycled materials as building materials.


More elegant examples of architecture using recycled materials is needed to make it a popular and common choice.  More of this is what we need:



One response to “Recycled Buildings

  1. I think this is fast becoming my new favorite type of architecture. I agree that the “kitschy” type constructions detract from what can thoughtfully be done with designed spaces using materials that might otherwise be called waste. I think, however, that there are a lot of examples of architecture that do repurpose old materials very thoughtfully if not ultimately beautifully. “Found Object Architecture” ( gives a few examples, but since posting that entry I’ve stumbled across so many other clever design solutions for using waste materials.

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