Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

When ‘waste’ doesn't go to waste

Maria Ponce’ home, entirely constructed from plastic bottles because she couldn’t afford traditional building materials, takes the idea of recycling a step beyond the expected. And it’s only one of three homes featured on this page* that use “trash” in this striking way: One of the others is made from beer cans, the other from glass bottles.

A house constructed from plastic bottles

A house constructed from plastic bottles: Usually
they hold water in....
[ Image Source ]

In each case, though, I’d think there'd be a significant practical question: how to close the interstices between the cans or bottles. Novelty and thrift may inspire, but they don’t keep the rain out.

These three homes represent something new and potentially useful, as do some others, notably the house built into a cave, which although deficient in natural sunlight will have the advantage of a solid substrate, protection from weather and a steady, mild temperature year round. But unfortunately, some of the other homes shown here are merely absurd: They are so designed that much of their internal space can’t be put to real use, or they will melt come spring, or they require leaping from a high bed onto a glass floor, or walking through a lake, or riding donkeys to slopes far above because they’re on hills so steep as to identify themselves to geologists’ eyes as “landslides-in-waiting.”

Worse, some are outright offenses against nature. The most obscene is the “house of lights,” which may be “off the grid” with its private generator, but which is nonetheless burning vast amounts of fuel for no good reason. And I can’t imagine living next door to this glaring domicile; three weeks, and, sleepless and deranged, I’d go over and have a word with the owner — following which, the lights would go off.

*Originally published as a review of a photoessay on unusual dwellings.

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