The Big Dig House is a single family residence outside Boston that looks very unlike its neighbors. Its most striking element is a massive exposed steel structure that seems reminiscent of highway infrastructure. Perhaps that is because it once did support an elevated highway.
The home of a civil engineer involved in the large infrastructure project known as the “Big Dig,” its structure and interior contains almost 600,000 pounds of materials recovered from the public works project. In collaboration with architecture firm Single Speed Design, the client was able to reuse the heavy steel structural elements removed from the old highways as well as reinforced concrete roadway panels. The panels were repurposed as floor plates. The resulting oversized structure allowed for non-standard spatial and programmatic features such as a large, Japanese roof garden. Most importantly, the Big Dig House serves as a model for repurposing materials from nontraditional sources such as public infrastructure. Since the completion of the Big Dig House, the architect and contractor have also teamed up to propose an un-built, multi-family residential development in Cambridge, Massachusetts to be framed with the same type of highway structural materials.
Reclaimed Materials (by application): Metals, Floor Plates
Location: Lexington, MA
Date of Completion: 2004
Architect: Single Speed Design
Client: Paul Pedini
Contractor: Paul Pedini, Jay Cashman, Inc.