The world has gone green. With carbon trading, hybrid cars and alternative fuels dominating elections and dining table chit-chat across the globe, the choice to be green is not simply an environmental consideration but a way of life for many people.
Some environmentally-minded folks, however, have brought new meaning to the phrase "one man's trash is another man's treasure", transforming scrap metal and old beer cans into functional and often stunning houses. Here are ten bizarre and beautiful houses made entirely of recycled materials.
Where: Washington State
It took one high school teacher, one artist, $500 and a pile of discarded filth to make the Junk Castle, with everything from car doors to rusting kitchen appliances replacing the usual bricks and mortar.
Where: Puerto Iguazu, Argentina
The 'House of Bottles' is made from thousands of disposable plastic bottles for the purpose of "promoting ecological and social responsibility", and includes a matching bottle playhouse.
After the devastating 2010 Haiti Earthquake destroyed thousands of families' homes, eco-architect Michael Reynolds constructed this 120-square-foot house from discarded car tires. Not only did it cost next to nothing to build, but it is also resistant to earthquakes and hurricanes and harvests solar and wind energy.
Where: Northern France
'The Garden of Shells' was a labour of love for French war veteran Bodan Litnianski, who upon returning from WWII began decorating the exterior of his house with shells. Upon finishing the walls, Litnianski then roamed the streets in search of abandoned toys, puppets and anything else that caught his fancy, transforming his tiny cottage into a veritable maze of colourful and exotic junk.
Where: Prince Edward Island, Canada
25,000 bottles were used by Édouard T. Arsenault to build this eco-friendly home. One wasn't enough though, with Arsenault making three similarly cost-effective houses across the island.
Where: Costa Rica
This multi-million dollar extravaganza is one of the more innovative hotel designs you are likely to see, constructed from a decommissioned Boeing 727 previously used by South Africa Air. The striking exterior is more than adequately matched by its ritzy interior, in which the inside of the plane has been refashioned into wood panelled hotel rooms that fetch up to $500 a night.
Where: Huntsville, Texas
Architect, environmentalist and innovator Dan Phillips (above) is the brains behind eco-friendly construction company, The Phoenix Commotion. Having constructed 14 houses from materials salvaged from junkyards, flea markets and street corners across Texas, Phillips believes the possibilities for The Phoenix Commotion are just about endless. "You can't defy the laws of physics or building codes," Phillips told the New York Times, “but beyond that, the possibilities are endless.”
Where: Houston, Texas
That's right, a house made entirely from flattened beer cans, beer bottles and other beer paraphernalia. Houston resident John Milkovisch became a local icon when in 1968 he began converting his family home into a shrine to the amber nectar. His only explanation for the hordes of perplexed neighbours was "I got sick of mowing the lawn". While it is now a favoured tourist attraction, it is only worth a visit if you are particularly strong of stomach, as 50 years of fermenting beer has apparently given the house a rather rancid stench.
Where: Chile and Austria
Designers in Chile and Austria have used discarded shipping pallets to create houses that are both functional and beautiful. The strong hardwood material and large holes in the pallets lend themselves perfectly for house exteriors providing homes with natural lighting, cooling and ventilation.
Where: Woodland, Utah
Penny-saving, environmentally-conscious architects have been known to convert just about anything into houses, from churches to shipping containers to bomb shelters. One such trend that has developed in the US is repurposing grain silos into some surprisingly stylish homes. While this double-silo mansion took several years of redesigning and recreating, silos can be renovated into houses for as little as $7,000.
August 13, 2012 by Sean Robertson