Everything (including the kitchen sink!) from Pepsi cans to sewer pipes has been reclaimed to form the basis of buildings, including pavilions, pods and full-sized homes. These 11 unusual structures made of reclaimed, recycled and salvaged materials continue to prove that so-called trash can still have all sorts of uses when its initial purpose is completed.
Brighton Waste House
The Brighton Waste House is a “living laboratory for ecological architectural design,” made with over 85% waste material from households and construction sites. It’s Europe’s first permanent public building made almost completely from unwanted materials and is certified low-energy. Over 300 students worked on the project, and among the unexpected items that went into it are DVDs, old plastic razors, denim jeans, video cassettes and single-use vinyl banners.
Concrete Pipes at Melbourne’s Prahan Hotel
A Melbourne pub known as the Prahran Hotel has an eye-catching facade made of reclaimed concrete pipes. Techne Architects stacked the pipes in a four-story configuration, setting them up against a glass wall to create porthole views of the streets from inside.
The Hive Inn: Stacked Shipping Containers
Though it hasn’t yet actually been built, it seems that this Jenga-like hotel made of stacked shipping containers is definitely possible, given the other ambitious projects that have come to life in recent years. The Hive Inn consists of a steel frame filled with one-of-a-kind hotel suites housed in shipping containers, which can easily be switched out and transported to other locations around the world.
TuboHotel by T3Arc
Another project using reclaimed concrete pipes – in this case, sewer pipes – is the TuboHotel in Tepoztlán, Mexico. Each tube contains a room just large enough for a double bed. The goal, accordion got the architects, was to come up with a hotel that would be fast to build and affordable for tourists.
Pepsi Can House, Nanjing, China
This shop in Nanjing, China makes use of an astonishing 100,000 Pepsi cans, covering its entire facade.
Illy Push-Button House
When it’s all closed up, this looks like nothing more than a rusted shipping container. But at the push of a button, it opens up into a tiny but incredibly well-thought-out living space. Designed by architect Adam Kalkin for the Illy coffee company, the house is made mostly of recycled and recyclable materials.
Sleeper Cells Made of Found Wood
While they’re not exactly full-on homes, these cute little sleeper pods are definitely a creative example of making use of reclaimed materials. Artist Suzanne Husky used found wood to create jagged little huts for an off-grid hotel in San Francisco.
Converted Subway Offices
An arts collective called Village Underground brought in a series of decommissioned subway cars to form the basis of stacked rooftop offices in the heart of London. The cars were gutted and renovated into cozy and bright places to work, the exteriors covered in graffiti in an homage to their origin.
Norway Showroom Made of Reclaimed Doors
Built in just 12 days, this artistic pavilion was made entirely from old windows and doors by a group of architecture students in Norway.
Building Made out of Recycled Kitchen Sinks
Now here’s a material you’ve probably never imagined being incorporated into architecture: old kitchen sinks! The structure by 2012 Architechten and Jeanneworks looks like a gleaming steel castle from the outside and is used as a community gathering space.
Manifesto House Made of Wood Pallets
Dozens of palettes were painted a clean, crisp white and added to a structure made of three shipping containers for ‘Manifesto House’ by architects James & Mau. The slatted wood helps keep the interior of the home cool, and adds visual interest. “Like if it had a second skin, the house ‘dresses and undresses’ itself, thanks to ventilated external solar covers on walls and roof,d epending on its need for natural solar heating,” say the architects.