The Big Dig House by Single Speed Design is a testament to recycling. More than 600,000 pounds of material were recovered from the massive Boston transit project known as the Big Dig and were reused to make this 3,400 square foot house. Temporary road sections (formerly used as access ramps for a bridge), support beams that shored up a slurry wall, and other pieces were saved from being sent to a landfill and instead became the bones of this unique home.
A project like this isn't the kind of thing that is going to be reproduced, at least not directly. Even when the materials can be had for free, there are still costs to bring the material to the building site. But more importantly, because they are not standardized materials and because they are not being used in standard ways, the labor (for design as well as assembly) needed to turn those pieces into a home such as this must be much more involved.
But when those talents are brought to bear, wonderful projects such as this house can be the result. Something unique and interesting can be created out of discarded materials. But neither the approach nor the end result is anything off-the-shelf. As Single Speed Design notes on their website, "Most importantly, the house demonstrates an untapped potential for the public realm: with strategic front-end planning, much needed community programs including schools, libraries, and housing could be constructed whenever infrastructure is deconstructed, saving valuable resources, embodied energy, and taxpayer dollars."
Article tags: residential