ScrapHouse was a temporary demonstration home which was built out of entirely scrap and reclaimed materials in front of San Francisco City Hall for World Environment Day 2005. Over the course of just six weeks, volunteers scoured landfills and junk yards to obtain materials while a design team, led by Public Architecture, imagined ways to repurpose and give the materials new life. The result was an inspiring structure which revealed the potential and beauty of reused materials, which had previously been labeled “waste,” to tens of thousands of visitors during its four-day installation period. Reclaimed solid core doors became an interesting floor material, outdated phone books created a textured insulating wall, and discarded street signs were used as exterior sheathing, creating a vibrant facade. These just a few of dozens of creative applications of reclaimed materials in ScrapHouse.
Today ScrapHouse lives on in print, film, and online. The process of designing and constructing ScrapHouse was captured in an entertaining documentary which was broadcast on the National Geographic Channel in 2006 and is now available on DVD. For Public Architecture, the project spawned its Material Reuse Design Initiative, through which the organization continues to explore ideas raised by ScrapHouse. Projects such as TAF Community Learning Space and the Design for Reuse Primer Publication are part of that initiative. Six years since the installation it is clear that, despite being small-scale and temporary, ScrapHouse has gone a long way in capturing imaginations and advancing the conversation around reuse.
Reclaimed Materials (by application): Doors and Windows, Furnishings, Metals, Wood/Lumber, Light Fixtures
Location: San Francisco, CA
Year completed: 2005
Design Lead: Public Architecture
Structural Engineer: Buscovich & Associates
Construction Manager: Laurence Kornfield
Lighting Designer: Alice Prussin Lighting Design
Landscape Architect: CMG Landscape Architecture