Friday, March 27, 2009

The Garbage Warrior

I missed the Colbert Report's recent interview with radical architect Michael Reynolds. Through the miracle of the internets you can watch it now.
Reynolds uses quote-unquote "garbage" to build self-sufficient, off-the-grid housing communities. Garbage like beer cans, water bottles and old tires.
This has put him on a collision course with the powers that be of the U.S. zoning and planning world but has made him a hero in places where people need safe, affordable places to live and where clean water and reliable sewage are not a given.
Reynolds is the subject of the documentary Garbage Warrior. You can watch the trailer here.
Watching him build houses with discarded water bottle "bricks" reminds me of Montreal architect Grant Genova, who converted an old lobster warehouse on Roy St. in the Plateau into a wildly original house/gallery and workshop. Genova set empty pop and wine bottles into the cement walls of his house to create beautiful honeycombed "stained glass windows."
To build the walls, he filled discarded plastic shopping bags with wet cement and stacked them, sandbaglike. As the cement hardened it took on the amorphous blobby shape of the bags. Once the cement dried, Genova tore the plastic bags away, leaving voluptuous and rounded walls. The pop bottle windows glowed like Chartres during midnight mass. Cool stuff.
Find out more about the documentary here

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