From a distance, this house looks like a relatively ‘normal’ house in Brighton, England. But get a little closer and head inside and you will realise it is very different indeed.
Build between 2013 and 2014, this structure is known as the Brighton Waste House. The aim of the project was to create a ‘living laboratory’ and to investigate strategies for constructing a contemporary building that is both permanent and low energy and made from over 85% ‘waste’ material.
The team behind the construction achieved their aim, and the Brighton Waste House is Europe’s first permanent public building made almost entirely from supposed junk that gets thrown away in households and construction sites.
The rubbish is in the numbers
Over 85% of a house is a large amount, and that has all been filled with waste material. This includes items like old vinyl banners, thrown-away bricks, ply sheets and off-cut timber from constructions sites. So-called rubbish has also been taken from households and includes the likes of toothbrushes, plastic razors, denim jeans, DVDs and video cassettes. These items have been slotted into wall cavities to assist with insulating the house.
While the use of all these waste materials is impressive, it doesn’t hit home until you see the numbers. 19,800 toothbrushes, 1.8 tonnes of denim, 500 bicycle inner tubes, 2,000 floppy discs, it truly is impressive the number of offcuts and rubbish you can make use of and create something lasting and useful.
The Waste House is now a teacher
Apprentices from social housing maintenance provider Mears, and volunteers and students from City College Brighton & Hove constructed the Waste House.
The Waste House is now a place for students and apprentices to visit and allows them to work on a live construction project. “The idea is that students learn how to accommodate whole-house ventilation and heat recovery into a design,” said Senior Lecturer and Architect Duncan Baker-Brown. “It’s all exposed so people can see what’s going on.” The house is also available for sustainably themed design workshops and events.