The Waste House, designed by School of Architecture and Design Tutor and Architect Duncan Baker-Brown, is made almost entirely from thrown away materials most of which were heading for landfill sites or incineration. Materials used in its construction already include 20,000 toothbrushes, two tonnes of denim jeans, 4,000 DVD cases, 4,000 floppy discs, 2,000 used carpet tiles, and tonnes of construction waste.
These are now being joined by old duvets from the University’s halls of residence that are being used as insulation and discarded oyster shells from English’s Oyster Bar in central Brighton that have been ground down, mixed with waste aggregates from the local Preston Barracks development site, and turned into wall tiles.
Speaking to the BBC about the latest modifications to the Waste House, Duncan Baker-Brown said: “It is great to see the Waste House continuing to break new ground four years after it was first completed. Duvets and oyster shells are not currently widely recycled yet, like so many of the other materials we have used, are perfectly suited to alternative uses. We will now be testing how they perform so that we can demonstrate to others the huge potential.”
Situated in the grounds of the University’s City Campus, the Waste House is a live, ongoing research project and permanent design workshop focused on enabling open discussion and understanding of sustainable development.
The Waste House has already been ranked as the third most eco-friendly home in the world and has garnered several high-profile awards including a special award from the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Stephen Lawrence Prize.
This latest work is part of the SB&WRC programme funded by the EU INTERREG VA France (Channel) England Programme and is being carried out ahead of publication of the Government’s much-anticipated Waste and Resource Strategy.
The Waste House is one of an ever growing number of national and international research projects that colleagues from the School of Architecture and Design are participating in. In the last year five new projects have been funded to the value of half a million pounds via the EU’s Horizon 2020 programme, the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council and the Economic and Social Research Council. All of these are linked by a common strand that challenges social, environmental and architectural practices within contemporary cities. As forward looking research they deal with the design implications arising from themes related to migration, refugees, the commons, urban food systems and the circular economy.