Waste House is a project recently completed by a team of 253 students and apprentices who were led by BBM Architects Director and senior lecturer Duncan Baker-Brown. The house is located at the University of Brighton’s Grand Parade campus and it is made entirely out of waste materials. It is quite an exercise in recycling, and the builders believe it is the first permanent house made entirely from waste in Britain.
Roughly 90 percent of the building materials that were used to construct Waste House are actually garbage and other waste materials collected from different household and construction sites. Among other items, this includes around 20,000 toothbrushes (only used once by airline passengers), 2 tons of denim jeans, 4,000 DVD cases, 2,000 floppy discs, and 2,000 used carpet tiles, which were used as cladding.
The frame of Waste House, as well as its floors are made from recycled and repurposed wood. There is also a rammed-earth wall, which was built using 11 tons of chalk waste and 10 percent of clay. It is 13.7 inches thick, and makes the house very energy efficient.
The 4,000 VHS videocassettes were used to insulate the walls. For columns, joists, flooring and several other structural needs, the builders used 100 sheets of repurposed and damaged plywood. Window seals and soundproofing were made from 500 bike inner tubes.
The 10 percent of new materials that were used to build Waste House include high-performance triple-glazed windows, a breathable facade membrane, and high-performance skylights. They also installed new electrical wiring and plumbing to meet current safety and health standards.
The main goal of the project is to showcase new sustainable architecture practices. Since Waste House was built primarily as a testing unit, there are a number of sensors built into its external walls, which will monitor the home’s insulation properties to see how efficient the different upcycled building materials really are. The structure itself will be used as an exhibition space and design studio, while schools, colleges and community groups will also be able to rent it out for eco-themed events and workshops.