08 November 2006

Reuse, Recycle, Recreate

I grew up with a healthy appreciation for the possibilities of scrap - my dad's workshop in the basement always had the perfect piece of wood for a project, my mom's fabric bin had just the piece to inspire. I'm still at it, currently working to incorporate salvaged windows into my glass art, and making a clock out of miscellaneous cabinet and faucet knobs. I recently came across two funky residences, created out of salvaged building materials. Aside from that, they couldn't be more different!

Wing Castle, located in the Hudson River Valley, was built by Peter and Toni Ann Wing. In 1969 they started collecting building material from churches, a railroad bridge, and demolished sidewalks and buildings. "Finishing" their home took the greater part of three decades, though Peter Wing continues to work on new projects and appears to be developing a B&B part of the property. The castle incorporates odds and ends like a ship's bow, the bottom dome of a water tower, and an antique bird feeder. Awesome photos here and here and an article by Peter Wing himself here.

Anyone who's ever tried to get away from Logan Airport in the last twenty years has encountered the Big Dig, Boston's huge construction fiasco. Paul Pedini, an engineer on the project, salvaged 600,000 pounds of concrete and steel (used to construct temporary structures like freeways ramps and support posts for the Zakim Bridge) and built a 4300-square-foot, six-level house in Lexington, Massachusetts. Though the lot and the building costs came to about $1,000,000, Pedini got the materials for free and saved his company about $20,000 in disposal costs. The house features 27-foot ceilings, a rooftop Japanese garden, and (my favorite part) a cable-stayed bridge connecting two interior levels. Pedini is looking for other projects to incorporate used construction materials and support sustainable growth. Article (with photos) about his house here.

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