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a challenge in thinking and making Tayler Mikosz | Ashley VanMeter Advisors: Wes Janz and Ana de Brea

Acknowledging We are grateful to many people for help, both direct and indirect, in completing this manual and the built example of our research. We are thankful for our colleagues, friends, faculty, community, and families who have helped extend our intellectual processes, and whose comments and questions have encouraged, supported, and enlightened us. This process has been by no means the product of two peoples’ efforts and would not have been possible without the help of so many wonderful people. It would be impossible for us to list all those involved, but first we would like to thank Kyle Sechrest and the woodshop gang for sharing their expertise in building processes. We thank Michel Mounayar for supporting our endeavor and allowing us to leave our semipermanent installation in the CAP building. We thank Roger and Craig for being understanding and accommodating of our request for materials from Heath Farm. We are appreciative of Ron for taking the time to explain the processes occurring at Delaware Wood Products

LLC. We thank Jon Schwab for guiding us through the processes at Industrial Pallet Corp. and showing a genuine interest in the architectural application of pallets. We are appreciative of Paul Puzzello for remaining a constant source of critical evaluation and inquisition about our processes. We thank Jesse Miller for showing us around Austin as well as keeping in touch throughout the project. We thank our minor advisor, Ana de Brea, for her guidance in presentation graphics and understanding language. Finally, we thank our major advisor, Wes Janz, for his crazy enthusiasm and energy which continues to motivate and inspire us even beyond the scope of this project. We hope this end result will prove useful to others interested in pursuing design-build work particularly with reused materials. Ashley and Tayler

Abstract Building materials make up over one third of all the municipal solid waste generated in the United States. Those building materials include but are not limited to commodities such as steel, aluminum, glass, plastics, and wood. They are common materials specified in architectural projects all the time, yet they continue to meet the same fate, demolition after demolition. Why does this happen and what can we do as designers to capitalize on these underutilized materials? Is there some way to reverse or transform this phenomenon? This project begins to explore the alternative design process of thinking and making through challenging traditional life cycle flows of materials. The design-build approach to this project separates these ideas from an abstract understanding of materials and processes in academia to a real-world application and execution of design.

explore a design process that begins by collecting materials and then designing an architectural piece that best embodies the chosen materials. This piece will be a material reuse center for the Ball State University College of Architecture and Planning. The project is an opportunity to go beyond theorizing about reusing materials into physically experimenting and building with these materials. It is time to see the potential in once used materials and define them in a way that provides a clear connection to the ever-changing profession of architecture and its responsibility to the earth and to humanity. It is our hope that documentation of this study will contribute to the larger ongoing intellectual conversation surrounding material reuse, repurposing, reclamation, and salvaging. By showing how two students are able to make architecture Design school is one place in which out of abandoned materials we aim to reuse ought to be implemented to instill inspire other students and professionals principles of reuse in the design process. to take on similar challenges. This design-build master’s thesis will

Containing Proposition.............................................................................................................. 1 Defining..............................................................................................................................3 Identifying........................................................................................................................ 5 Proceeding..................................................................................................................... 10 Chitchatting...................................................................................................................14 Questioning................................................................................................................... 18 Testing.............................................................................................................................. 26 Polling................................................................................................................................ 27 Analyzing........................................................................................................................ 29 Inventory of Collected Materials...................................................................... 31 Sharing............................................................................................................................. 33 Deconstructing............................................................................................................ 35 Delaware Wood Products LLC........................................................................... 39 Discovering.................................................................................................................... 44 Evolving...........................................................................................................................46 Transforming................................................................................................................47 Inventory of Voids................................................................................................ 49 Language | Pattern | Rotation | Stacking.............................................................. 54 Inventory of Pallets............................................................................................... 55 Implementing..............................................................................................................59 Industrial Pallet Corp...........................................................................................63 Process Images...................................................................................................... 67 Reviews From Afar............................................................................................... 82 Studying..........................................................................................................................92 Interpreting.................................................................................................................126 Timing.............................................................................................................................135 Referencing.................................................................................................................139

Proposition as citizens of the world... We are disgusted by the extreme amount of “waste� we, the population, seem to generate year after year. as young architects... Approximately one third of all municipal solid waste is created from building materials. We see the root of this problem growing in design schools. Many people claim to be on the leading edge of the sustainable movement, yet they make no visible effort to reduce the amount of waste exiting their buildings as a direct result of traditional design processes.

how we will begin address them... It is time to start thinking about unusual possibilities and critical practice in architecture through exploring circular life cycle flows of materials.

our questions... Why does this wastefulness happen and what can we do as designers to capitalize on these under utilized materials? Is there some way to reverse or transform this phenomenon?


Waste (noun)

1. useless consumption or expenditure; use without adequate return; an act or instance of wasting. 2. neglect, instead of use: waste of opportunity. 3. gradual destruction, impairment, or decay: the waste and repair of bodily tissue. 4. devastation or ruin, as from war or fire. 5. anything unused, unproductive, or not properly utilized. 6. anything left over or superfluous, as excess material or by-products, not of use for the work in hand: a fortune made in salvaging factory wastes. 7. remnants, as from the working of cotton, used for wiping machinery, absorbing oil, etc.

Trash (noun)

1. anything worthless, useless, or discarded; rubbish. 2. foolish or pointless ideas, talk, or writing; nonsense. 3. broken or torn bits, as twigs, splinters, rags, or the like. 4. something that is broken or lopped off from anything in preparing it for use.

Garbage (noun)

1. discarded animal and vegetable matter, as from a kitchen; refuse. 2. any matter that is no longer wanted or needed; trash. 3. anything that is contemptibly worthless, inferior, or vile: There’s nothing but garbage on TV tonight. 4. useless artificial satellites or parts of rockets floating in space, as satellites that are no longer transmitting information or rocket boosters jettisoned in flight.


no definition, suggests use


Widely Accepted Meanings

Recycle (verb) (used with object)

1. to treat or process (used or waste materials) so as to make suitable for reuse: recycling paper to save trees. 2. to alter or adapt for new use without changing the essential form or nature of: The old factory is being recycled as a theater. 3. to use again in the original form or with minimal alteration: The governor recycled some speeches from his early days. 4. to cause to pass through a cycle again: to recycle laundry through a washing machine. 5. to pass through a cycle again; repeat a process from the beginning. 6. to undergo reuse or renewal; be subject to or suitable for further use, activity, etc.: The industry will recycle and become profitable once more.


no definition

Salvage (noun) 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

the act of saving a ship or its cargo from perils of the seas. the property so saved. compensation given to those who voluntarily save a ship or its cargo. the act of saving anything from fire, danger, etc. the property saved from danger.

Identifying Heath Farm

Heath Fa r m






to 7



Heath Farm is a property owned by Ball State University where all the campus wood waste is collected in a massive pile. The pile consists of everything from shipping pallets, to large spools, to old dorm furniture. It all sits for a period of about ten months before a large wood chipper is rented to reduce the pile to mulch. The machine uses a magnet to remove the metal, which can be recycled. The mulch is eventually used back on campus for various landscape applications. We had the opportunity to visit Heath Farm three times this semester. The first time our advisor, Wes, took us and another thesis student before any of us knew which direction the final output of our thesis would be headed. It was January and the pile was covered with snow, but we were still able to see the potential in these once used materials. Utterly amazed by the sheer volume of wood waste our campus generates, we began working on creating a place with which our college can begin to reduce our contribution to the waste stream. Our second visit to Heath Farm was later in the spring after our design plans began to take shape. We committed to using only pallets for the main part of the assembly which would allow us to focus

on becoming experts on the potentials of one material system. We borrowed a truck from a friend and met Wes at Heath Farm early one morning to begin collecting our pallets. Before we could get our first load, we were greeted by a campus police officer telling us we had to put it all back and leave the premises. Before we knew it Roger and Craig who are in charge of Heath Farm’s operations were out there to talk to us about how people are not allowed to take things from Heath Farm because it is Ball State’s property. They apparently were under the impression that we were not affiliated with the university, but after Wes got that point across, we had no problem. Before we knew it Craig was writing his phone number on a Band-Aid wrapper with the promise of having our pallets delivered to the architecture building at the time we specified! What a great way to learn about how the system works! The third visit was organized primarily to take our minor advisor, Ana, to see the pile because like us, she was not aware of its existence before this semester. When we got there, the pile of wood had been reduced by approximately two thirds and the mulch piles were much larger than they had been. The wood chipper was still on site and under repair, but an employee informed us it would take only a few hours to finish chipping the rest of the pile once the machine was repaired. 8




One of the first research methods we used was about discovering our project and what is important to us. We did this by developing a mind map of our topic. The idea was to use only key words and phrases to link the different aspects of our argument. There were only three rules: no judgment, no pausing, and do it quickly. This exercise allowed us to see new ideas emerging and the connections between those ideas. A lot of our preliminary research has been conducted by surfing the internet and finding intellectual colleagues and projects carried out with similar ideas to ours. We have also looked through several books on the subjects of salvaging, reusing, and designbuilding. The books tend to have more thorough documentation on a more focused subject, but there is great value in utilizing the online world. We have been using a bookmarking site as a tool

to help us organize and network the ideas and projects we have been reading about. Pecha Kucha presentations were a part of our discovery process and research. We presented these with our advisor, Wes Janz, and the other M.ARCH candidates he advised in order to share ideas and help each other find common ground. This concept is explained more in another section and shows images from our presentations. We found this exercise to be quite helpful because it demonstrated the wide array of peoples’ interests and the things they have been looking into. It also helped us discover the need to create some kind of criteria for what is good and interesting and what is not. Since our thesis involves physically building our design, we started experimenting early in our process. We were both part of the Muncie Children’s Museum Tot Spot elective, which gave us 10

great insight into the process of a designbuild project. In the class we began with a previous group’s design, refining the details to strengthen the design while considering the actual building process we would complete. The project has taught us a lot about working with wood as well as with a team of other people on a construction project. Tayler did a few individual building studies with scrap wood in the wood shop. In addition, we deconstructed a chair together and built another scrap wood construction to familiarize ourselves with connections and assembly potentials. These projects are discussed in more depth later in the text.

working on a project called The Alley Flat Initiative in Austin, which is a program launched by the Austin Community Design and Development Center, the Guadalupe Neighborhood Development Corporation, and the University of Texas Center for Sustainable Development. Its purpose is to create small residential units on back lots of homeowners’ properties, taking advantage of the underutilized alleys and creating affordable housing for families as well as a small additional income for the homeowners. Jesse was just getting started on his project when we were there, but his schematic plan involves salvaging much of the existing structure where he and his team Site visits have been an important part will be building their next Alley Flat. of our research. Reading about projects is one thing, but seeing them in person We visited the pavilion at the Lutheran is something completely different. First Church of the Cross once we were hand experiences are invaluable. We back in Muncie, Indiana, which was an visited sites in Austin, Texas over the undergraduate thesis project completed CAP field trip week and were lucky by Jason Barisano, Kyle Hardie, Ryan enough to have a past M.ARCH graduate Hinz, and Ben Luebke in 2005. We were from Ball State, Jesse Miller, as a guide. able to get in touch with both Jason and We visited Reclaimed Space with Jesse Kyle about the project. Jason exchanged and saw one of the modular houses a few e-mails with us answering some they were working on. Jesse also took questions about their process. Kyle was us to the Center for Maximum Potential kind enough to meet us for breakfast to Building Systems in Austin where he had talk about his role in their project as well completed an internship. The people as offer some hindsight advice about at CMPBS are living in and working ours. This was a valuable experience on several projects that involve non- because it got us thinking about a few traditional uses of materials. Jesse is also things we had overlooked as far as doing 11

a small design-build project on a minimal budget and in a short time frame. Kyle offered some sound design advice for a project in the scope we were thinking. He suggested we begin to limit our materials right away so we could start collecting them and studying them with a pointed focus. This was important because our design developed more thoughtfully once we began to understand the language of our materials and came to know them well. It also allowed us to focus on finding particular materials from particular sources rather than wandering aimlessly into the endless possibilities of salvaged material potentials. One of our greatest inspirations for our project was from Heath Farm on the Ball State University Campus. We visited the farm’s wood pile three times over the course of the project and witnessed the change it incurred over time. After we limited our materials to pallets and threaded rod connectors, we began to do a more in depth study of pallet reuse and assembly by visiting Delaware Wood Products LLC in Muncie to understand their processes. We also visited Industrial Pallet Corp. in both Remington, Indiana, and Clarks Hill, Indiana. Both experiences broadened our understanding of pallets by explaining how and why they are assembled the way they are. We highly recommend

this process of visiting different sites as a research method for any architectural thesis. Talking to people with inherently different yet paralleling interests, such as the pallet manufacturers, has given more depth to our own discoveries. Another method for testing our thesis was to survey the students and faculty within the College of Architecture and planning to discover where and how they might want to use a facility such as the one we created. It was important for us to keep the faculty involved because they could become an important driving force in developing this new culture of reuse we intend to implement. Michel Mounayar, the associate dean of our college stayed on board throughout the entire build-design-build process and got us in contact with the CAP Sustainability Committee which is made up of students and faculty in our college. We were able to present our ideas to them and several faculty agreed to mention this facility in their classes or potentially even require reused and leftover materials to be utilized for projects in their classes.




Pecha Kucha 20x20

Inventors: Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture Presenter: Ashley VanMeter

Pecha Kucha 20x20 is a presentation format invented by architects for architects to prevent rambling. The presenter shows twenty images for twenty seconds each and talks while the images are playing. This is a quick rundown of the images I showed in my Pecha Kucha. (View photo matrix left to right). 1. Photo of pallets by Chris Jordan from his collection called Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption. 2. Manifesto House by Infiniski. Made from a combination of pallets and shipping containers. 3. Pallet House by I-Beam in New York. 4. Reclaimed Space barn deconstruction. 5. Reclaimed Space modular home. 6. Peggy Archer – photographer of abandoned couches. 7. Mad Housers hut 8. Graypants’ Recycled Scrap Chairs 9. Photo by Wes Janz. Dumpster Muncie,

IN. 10. Frank-Michael Rebhan bought this house (slated for demolition) for $1, deconstructed it, and moved it to a new site. 11. Tool to salvage fence pickets and pallets made from salvaged materials. 12. Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems, Austin, TX. 13. Light fixture made from bird feeders at Center for maximum potential Building Systems, Austin, TX. 14. Pavilion at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Muncie – undergraduate thesis project, Ball State University, 2005. 15. Goat Milking Shed design-build, University of Colorado Denver. 16. House designed by Aaron Maret from his salvage design-build studio. 17. Tiny Free House by Michael Janzen. 18. Dan Phillips – low income housing initiative, salvaged materialsglass bottle door. 19. Lance Armstrong Foundation, Austin, TX – Lake Flato Architects 20. Refrigerator + Car Seat = Couch 14


Pecha Kucha 20x20

Inventors: Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Klein Dytham Architecture Presenter: Tayler Mikosz

This exercise involved finding 20 images and talking about each for 20 seconds. The purpose was to show other students what projects I have been looking at and to express how they are influencing my thinking about my own project. It was helpful to take a moment to see where I am in my research so that I can refocus my effort on important areas of my topic. The presentations were a quick way for all of us thesis students to share our ideas with each other and to get comments and feedback. We were able to find common areas of interest between different the separate thesis projects, which will allow us to share relevant information and sources with fellow classmates.

The next step is to start finding themes that are related to my topic of study for thesis and start organizing projects by their relation to those key themes.

After compiling the images I was able to look through the images and think about what they have in common to find themes in my thinking. It was a clear way to see that I have found many examples of projects that use salvaged materials. 16



Small [de]Constructions This is a series of small constructions and deconstructions we completed in an effort to learn more about building and designing. Project 1 and Project 2 are projects Tayler completed individually in a short period of time last semester to familiarize herself with the woodshop and how to use the resources available to her there.

Though it may not be obvious, each of these projects was valuable in our journey to discover our project’s true goals and intentions. These small [de] constructions each taught us something about craft, form, and responding to the characteristics of a material.

The chair deconstruction was completed in December to understand furniture construction through a process of disassembly. It was much more labor intensive than we had originally anticipated and the amount of usable lumber reclaimed was minimal. The third small construction was completed in January after we had determined exactly what our thesis would be. We wanted to begin studying how to make a storage unit from only reclaimed wood without using mechanical fasteners. 18

Project 1

Project 2

Project 1

Project 2

Project 1 19

Project 2

Project 1

Project 2

Date: November 17, 2010

Date: November 17, 2010

Materials: wood found in the scrap box, Materials: wood found in the scrap box, nails from Tayler’s house bought for nails from Tayler’s house bought for hanging art, tools from the CAP woodshop hanging art, tools from the CAP woodshop Time: 30 minutes

Time: 45 minutes

Goal: Build something small, use scarp Goal: Build something small but a materials with character, do as little little bigger than the last one, use scrap alterations as possible to the materials materials that are in bigger chunks, cut pieces to make a more regular sized box Process: Cut the wood to fit together only in the length direction, Process: Cut the wood to fit length, cut leave the heights as they are when other pieces height to match the shortest found. Nail the pieces together. length, drive one nail in each piece, go back and add extra nails as needed. Observations: Need practice with nailing. Hard to keep the pieces lined Observations: Used a bigger hammer up while assembling. Need to be which worked much better. Paid more more accurate. Small mistakes become attention to lining pieces up. Final bigger when all 5 pieces are assembled. product was much more square. Putting Did not turn out very square. The one nail in allowed for some movement pieces with more character were hard to get everything to line up better. to get to fit together. Picked pieces This box looks much more accurate that were too small from the start, did and like I knew what I was doing. The not give much space for adjustment. box has less character than the first. 20


Chair Deconstruction Date: December 14, 2010 Materials: chair, hammer, pliers, flat screwdriver, phillips screwdriver Time: 8 + hours Goal: See how this chair was assembled by disassembling. Try to salvage materials for future reuse. Process: Remove fabric skin by prying out staples, remove padding, remove legs, remove nails and screws Observations: This is a labor intensive process. We learned about wood to wood, wood to steel, and wood to fabric connections. We can understand the relationship of skin to bones through this subtractive process. We can see how the structure relates to the human body through its dimensions and contours. Treasures: 2 pens, $.30, sewing needle, springs, some lumber, chair legs 22


Detail Study Date: January 24, 2011 Materials: woodshop scraps, c clamps, bar clamps, glue, table saw Time: 3 hours Goal: Test non-mechanical wood to wood connections, build from reclaimed materials, make a storage unit Process: Collect wood scraps of different sizes from woodshop, use table saw to make dado cuts, cut materials to same heights, glue assembly together, clamp in place, remove clamps when dry. Observations: This assembly method is more difficult than we thought it would be due to the number of pieces needing to be clamped at once and all kept square. This piece is much stronger than we had anticipated. We want to experiment with using a single material rather than random assorted materials. 24

Photos of the Pilot Reuse Project in the Fourth Floor Corridor



CAP Reuse Pilot Study The original idea for a reuse center within the architecture building came to us back in the Fall of 2009. The idea came out of our observations that many students have leftover materials that get thrown away at the end of projects or the semester. It seemed obvious that there should be a system in the building allowing students to practice this idea of material reuse and conservation we so often discuss in class and in our design projects. We brought the idea to the Student Advisory Counsel where the idea was approved and it was decided that a pilot study should be set up to test the idea. Unused lockers were taken from studios and placed in the hallway, by the stairs on the fourth floor. Materials collected earlier in the semester were placed in the lockers and emails were sent to make students were aware of this new opportunity. Materials began flowing in and out of the lockers within days.

been due to their temporary nature and our inability to put a more permanent structure in place. The short success of this pilot study gave us the confidence to say that this system, if made permanent, would be used and would be a valuable addition to the building. A year later we decided to resurrect the idea for a reuse center and make it the focus of our thesis project in order to design and build a permanent reuse station for the building.

Using the knowledge we gained from the pilot study, we created a survey to get formal feedback from the students and faculty. The survey focused on the materials being placed in the unit and the location of this unit. Responses were predictable except for the options of where to put the unit in the building. As we moved forward with the unit’s location, we referred back to the surveys to take into consideration our We were away from campus the following peer’s comments, as they are our clients. semester and the lockers were removed. The removal of the lockers may have 26

What types of left over materials do you have at the

Studentend Responses of a project that you would donate to be used in

classmates’ future all that apply] What typesaoffellow left over materials do you haveproject? at the end [mark of a project that you would donate to be used in a fellow classmates’ future project? (mark all that apply) 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 0 Wood Cardboard Mat Board Plexi Glass Paint Paper Foam Core Wire Hardware Other (bass, (screws, balsa, nails) What dowel material do you most often find yourself needing HowHow fromyour yourstudio studio desk youyou be far far from deskwould would What material do you most often find be willing to travel to collect /deposit rods) a smallyourself quantity ofa to finish your needing small quantity of toproject? (mark all that travel to collect/deposit reusable materials? reusable materials? finish your project? [mark all that apply]

willing to

apply) 80









Only on my floor


I would walk up or down 1 floor

I would walk up or I would go anywhere down 2 floors in the building

20 10 0 Particular color of Certain size of mat board dowel rod

Particular Certain color of thickness or color paint of plexi glass


In which location do you think the

material trading center would be most In which location do you think the material trading convenient for you? center would be most convenient for you?

On which floor would a material trading center be most useful to Onyou? which floor would a material trading center be most useful to you?

45 40















10 5

0 By main stair Near vending Near double machines on elevators second floor

Near single elevator


Hallway outside of studios


And The Survey Says...

0 2nd




If the architecture building had a material reuse center (mat board, plexi glass, bass/balsa wood, Facultyetc.), Responses how would you encourage your students to usea material the materials? If the architecture building had reuse center (mat board, plexi glass, bass/balsa wood, etc.) how would you encourage your students to use the materials? 15 10 5 0 Make an Require/strongly Require/strongly Require/strongly I would not mention announcement on suggest use if these suggest use if these suggest use of these it at all Of the classes you teach, which class the first day ofhave class the materials for use studyformaterials would most the for one materials for all models project projects

material trading center? [mark all that

apply]which class would have the most use for the material trading center? (mark all Of the classes you teach, that apply) 20 15 10

On which floor do you believe a material tradingElective center would be Studio General CAP classes (CAP, ARCH, LA, PLAN) most useful to you and your On which floor dostudents? you believe a material trading center would be most useful to you and your students? 5 0

15 10 5

In which location do you think the 3rd 4th Other material trading center would be most convenient your In which locationfor doyou youand think thestudents? material trading center would be most convenient for you and your 0


students? 12

10 8 6 4 2 0 By main stair Near vending Near double Near single machines on elevators elevator second floor

Hallway outside of studios


Heath Fa r m




the l


Campus Area Map

Location Within CAP


From the beginning we had a few ideas of locations in the building we thought would be convenient for the site of our reuse center. We wanted to find an accessible and visible space without taking up crit spaces or disturbing traffic patterns in the building. Surveys were used to gain the student and faculty input about convenient locations within CAP. The survey asked questions about which space they wanted the project, which floor, and how far they would be willing to travel to get to the unit. Many students agreed the best location would be the hall which would allow 24/7 access. Most responses suggested the fourth floor and the basement, a spot which we had not been contemplating ourselves. We were surprised to see that a majority of students would travel anywhere in the building to access the materials. This feedback gave us the freedom to choose the best location without having to worry too much about how far away it was from the studios. After reviewing the survey responses we chose the balcony by the main stairs on the second floor. We felt this was a central location and was on a floor most students go to for class or to use the vending machines. This leftover space was the perfect spot for the reuse of leftover materials. The space is also ideal due to the traffic through the site and the light coming from the atrium’s window wall.

Travel Times: -1-2 minutes walk from site to FAB LAB -2-3 minutes walk from site to 6th floor studio

A space where light, sound, and views come together

Restrictions: -No permanent attachment to floor -No permanent attachment to walls -No touching ceiling plane -No obstructing hallway -Must guard inventory from falling over balcony

Adjacent Spaces and Natural Light

Views From The Site

Views To The Site


Inventory of Collected Materials

Material Sources

First Year Unit 1 Installations, Wes's 401 Studio, Tot Spot Tree Mockup, Basement Storage Room, Deconstructed 601 Studio Model, CAP Woodshop, Ben McHugh's Thesis, Ashley's Leftover Studio Supplies, Heath Farm

Material Number Hollow core doors 2 Tack board 1 Particle board 1 Pallets 30 Screen 1 Timber piece 2 Wire 8 Cut, stained, and laminated plywood 10 Mirrors 10 2x4 1 3 10 9 Dark shelf boards 2 Golden shelf boards 4 2x3 7 Stained 1x2 with c shapes 2 2x2 3 4 6 Peg board 4 Metal hinges 2

Size 3'x6'8" 4'x8' 4'x8' Various 2'6"x4' 4"x4"x19" Various Various 9x12 9' 8' 7'8.5" Less than 5' 8'8" Various Various 9'10" 4'11" 3'11" Less than 3' 16"x18"

Standard Pallet Sizes

Some people use the words pallet and skid interchangeably, when in fact they are two separate things. The difference is that skids only have top deck boards and pallets have top and bottom deck boards. When referring to a pallet size the stringer size is mentioned first and then the deck board size. In the US 48�x40� is the most common size. Pallets are picked up and moved using pallet jacks and forklifts. Openings in the bottom of the pallets determine how many ways the pallet can be picked up. A 2-way pallet can be picked up from 2 sides and a 4-way has extra notches that allow it to be moved from all 4 sides. Different countries and parts of the world have different standard sizes. Standards relating to bug and rot control also differ from country to country.


Pallet Wood Species Oak Pine Popular Gum Ash Hickory

2-Way Heat Treat and Mold Guard

Deck Boards, Slats

Lead Boards

Lead Boards

Pallet Lingo


Stringers, Runners, Bones

Basic Pallet Knowledge

Pallets must be heat treated to be safe for food transportation. Each pallet manufacturer is given an ID number which is stamped on the side of each heat treated pallet. This number allows a pallet to be traced back to a company if it does not meet the EPA and FDA standards. Pallets are also treated with a mold guard to prevent wood rot. This treatment is not monitored as strictly and no stamping process is required.


6” 2.67” 4”

9” 2.67”




2.67” 48”





4” 4”

2.67” 4”

9” 2.67”



40” .5”

Standard US 48” x 40” Pallet

.5” 1.5”




3.5” 4.5” This diagram depicts the general measurements for a 48” x 40” pallet. Due to the rough nature of 1.5” pallet wood and the construction process, each pallet differs slightly.

Step 1


One full pallet Tools: Jigsaw Hammer


Cut each of the middle 3 slats on the bottom of the pallet into 2 pieces, using 4 cuts per piece.

Pallet Deconstruction Process

Step 2

Flip the pallet over and cut along the outside edges of the middle 5 slats on the top side of the pallet. Stand the pallet on it’s side, top side facing you. Push the slats back and forth through the opening to loosen the nails. Use a hammer to pry the slat off of the pallet. Remove the nails from the slats by hammer them through from the under side of the board.

Step 3

Cut the remaining outside slats off of the stringer boards using 4 cuts per slat.

Nail Removal


Turn the board upside down with the bottom of the nail sticking up. Hold one end of the board on a solid surface with the nail portion sticking over the edge. Hammer the nail from the bottom until the head is sticking out of the top of the board. Flip the board right side up and use the claw of the hammer to pull the nail out of the board.

3 stringers (bones) 5 full slats 14 half slats


While collecting materials from the architecture building we found about eight pallets leftover from other student projects. They sat in our space for a while and we had almost given up on the idea of using them as a building material in our project. Many people had told us how difficult it was to take pallets apart and we felt we should give it a try before we completely gave up on pallets. We checked out a jigsaw and hammer and got to work. Our goal was to remove the deck boards and try to use them as a building material. In an afternoon we came up with the deconstruction process we have laid out on the previous pages. It worked well for us and was not as difficult as we were anticipating. In the process of dismantling six of our eight pallets we became pretty efficient in the deconstruction and familiar with the pallets and their subtle differences. We began to notice the variety of scents coming from cutting the different types of wood and the pressure needed to cut through the denser boards. At the end of the process we had a nice stack of boards and a pile of bones. Through stacking the boards we began to come up with a system and language that would carry through to the final construction. We hope that by sharing our process we can inspire others to take on this challenge and see what possibilities lie in these leftover materials. 38

Delaware Wood Products LLC

Components organized in the yard

Components organized in the yard

Reclaimed stringers 41

Horizontal band saw in use

Delaware Wood Products LLC is a small family owned company located in Muncie, IN. Their business developed somewhat oddly after a failed attempt to start a chicken raising company about thirty years ago. In an effort to keep a failing business afloat, they capitalized on reconditioning the overwhelming amount of unwanted pallets from other local businesses. The owners said when the company started they had a surplus of pallets to be reconditioned, which they got essentially for free. As the years have gone on, people have begun to see the value in once used pallets, so they are no longer interested in just giving them away. Now Delaware Wood Products purchases the pallets they recondition.

customer orders solely by using reclaimed pallet wood. Today the limited availability of previously used pallets, requires the company to use some new wood to keep up with the demand from their customers’ orders in a timely manner.

It was interesting for us to visit this pallet remanufacturer to see how they handle pallets at their facilities, since we had already developed our own way of working with pallets. Their system of disassembling pallets provided a great contrast with our work in a way that made us appreciate the difference in scale between their process with a crew of about a dozen people The company uses a horizontal axis band compared to our process saw that allows one man to completely with only two people. disassemble a pallet in less than thirty seconds by shearing off the pallet’s nails. They reuse both the stringers and the deck boards for parts to reassemble pallets as long as they appear to be in good shape. The wood that does not pass the visual inspection or is broken in critical places is moved to their wood chipping area where it goes through a grinder to be made in to mulch. At the grinder, the metal remaining in the wood is separated out using a magnet. The metal is then taken to another location to be recycled. In its beginnings, Delaware Wood Products used to be able to fill all 42

Slats Before Cleaning

Gluing Detail

Slat Sanding and Conditioning Routed Edge Detail

Conditioned Surface

Threaded Rod Connection

Alignment and Spacing

Slat Seating Stack

Wood Supports Bones Stacking

Metal Banding 43

Dowel Rod With Wire Supports

Wire Connection Detail

Build | Design | Build Discovering

Experiments in Stacking

The first step in our process was to become familiar with our material by taking pallets apart and reassembling the pieces. This taught us how pallets are assembled and in which ways they are the strongest. Pallets are designed to work when stacked together, so we began stacking the individual pieces to follow this same logic. By rotating the pieces, we were able to create different surfaces with varying textures. The pieces are rough when removed from the pallets so several edges were sanded to see how cleaning the surfaces could affect human interaction with the material.

too flimsy to support the material’s weight. Gluing and clamping proved stable and close to the desired aesthetic, but the glue was visible in the gaps between slats. From this experiment we discovered beauty in the planed wood and we could embrace the gaps as long as the glue was not visible. The threaded rods provided the aesthetic and support required to make the stacking method a viable building option. This became the main connector language and was carried through the project. In this stage we also discovered tung oil and its ability to enhance the cleaned surface of the pallet by smoothing and adding shine to the Once stacking became a common wood. language, we experimented with connection methods. The methods Turnbuckles were also explored, but included: metal bands, wire, glue and were ruled out after we experienced clamps, dowel rods, and threaded rods. difficulties creating vertical openings Metal banding is commonly used on extending the length of sixteen pallets. pallets in shipping and seemed like Another eliminated idea was the stacking a logical approach, but cut into the of the bones. When turned on their sides wood and left an unstable stack. Wire and stacked in alternating directions, the connections created nice details, but we bones create a rich shadowy texture in were unable to make them tight enough the light, but the nails in the stringers to add stability. The wood dowel rods made it too difficult to create a sturdy created the desired aesthetic but were connection.



Build | Design | Build Evolving

The Cultivation of Form At the beginning of our process we collected materials from past student projects around the architecture building. We chose our space and began placing the materials in the space to see how the form could evolve from the collected materials. The decision to work solely with pallets pushed us to reexamine the way the form would respond to its functionality. Once we became familiar with our material, the pallet, we went into the computer to model possible pallet configurations. These 3D models helped us quickly see the variety of ways the pallets could be stacked to create a functional form, and add visual and spatial interest to the site. After many iterations we decided on a configuration satisfying all our needs. We returned to our space and began creating the virtual form with real pallets in the space. The form needed only minor adjustments to the pallets alignments and positioning within the space. The computer models helped with the overall form, but the final positioning developed from being

in the site and responding to the existing minute architectural details there. These details included the gaps between railing and structure, and the power outlet on the concrete railing. This back and forth approach between real life and virtual world allowed for the quick exploration of multiple forms while still respecting the nature of pallets we discovered in the first build stage of the process. At the project’s start we thought of our piece as a storage facility with shelves and a bench. This translated into a boxy form with horizontal surfaces designed for specific materials. As our language transformed, the built form responded to our new way of thinking. We began designing openings and people space instead of cubbies and benches. This change in language freed us to think of the piece as surfaces and openings of varying sizes. The form became more sculptural and began actively responding to the space’s abundant light and views. 46


A change in an object which alters its general character and mode of life, as in the development of the germ to the embryo, the egg to the animal, or the pallet to architecture.

Trash Dark

to Unimportant to Junk to Garbage to Evil to Rubbish to Scrap to to Rubble to Idle to Gem to Value to Accepted to Benefit to

to Dim to Dingy to Charred to Subdued to Enclosure to to Bright to Glossy to Ablaze to Bleached to Weightless to


to Heavy to Closed to Dense to Opaque to Sullen to Unaccented to Subtraction to Hollow to Thin to Barren to

Disorder to Chaos to Backbreaking to Rebel to Clutter to Messy to Fragment to Jungle to Inventory to Stacking Homogenous to Understanding to Sequence to Regulated


to Threatening to Raw to Coarse to Misbehave to Jagged to Harsh to Tarnished to Graceful to Casual to Finished to Conditioned




to Treasure Shadow to Light

HeathtoUndesirabletoFilthtoWastetoBurdensome Power to Salvaged to Vision to Preserved to Good

Weight to Sullen to Dull to Cavernous to Brilliant to Cheerful to Shiny to Radiant to Glowing

Full to Unbroken to Stable to Thick to Whole to Abandoned to Open to Light to Empty to Vacant to Free

to Void

to Varied to Derangement to Shambles to Confusion to Submit to Rotating to Shifting to Conformity to to Elegant to Insight to Structure to Cubic to Organized

to Order

to Unfinished to Dangerous to Dirty to Scarred to Tattooed to Inviting to Clear to Smooth to Polished to Soft


to Clean to


Inventory of Voids

14 10

13 9



8 3

4 7





Void Configuration


Key 14 10 5 9 4 3 2 1


13 12 8 7 11 6






Openings of varying dimensions accommodate materials of all shapes and sizes. Smaller voids are shaped by leaving more of the original pallets intact. Larger voids are formed by selectively removing boards from the pallets. This computer model allows us to take inventory of the number and sizes of the voids generated in the unit. The openings are organized smaller and darker on the bottom left to larger more light openings on the top right. The pallets themselves are stacked darker on bottom to lighter on top to reinforce this transformation in the overall form of the piece.











Stacking and Rotation

Oval Void Formation 53

Language | Pattern Rotation | Stacking Several form languages are created by the stacked sets and rotation of the pallets. A language of oval forms develops by flipping every other pallet and stacking the bottoms of each pallet together. These ovals run the length of each layer and create voids for views and placing items. Every other pair of pallets rotates to create various openings and extends the project into the hallway. This rotation positions the vertical surfaces toward the window wall, allowing the form to catch more sunlight. The angling of the stacked slat wall creates an enclosure giving the user a feeling of privacy while occupying the space.


Inventory of Pallets

14 13

10 9

6 5

2 1

16 15

12 11

8 7

4 3

Pallet Numbering System


Process 1. Break down digital design into individual pallet configurations (see matrix showing tops and bottoms). 2. Organize physical pallets by hue (darkest hues ideal for lower pallets and lightest hues for upper pallets).


3. Match each physical pallet to the digital pallet it relates most closely to keeping step two in mind. 4. Subtract slats from pallets as needed.



5. Stack pallets in design configuration.














































6 58


Implementing Final Assembly

Build | Design | Build




Construction Diagram

1. Pallets 2. Bones 3. Slats 4. Threaded Rods

Industrial Pallet Corp.

New pallet components

Heat treated pallet stamp

Mold guard application

Heat treater meter

Reconditioning standards 65

Wood chipper with metal remover

Industrial Pallet Corp. is headquartered in Remington, IN, but they also have locations in Clarks Hill, IN, Mitchell, IN, and Greencastle, PA. They are one of the largest pallet companies in the country. We were able to visit both the Remington and the Clarks Hill locations. In Remington they work with mostly new wood to create custom sized pallets. The Clarks Hill location is mostly for reconditioning pre-owned pallets.

of inventorying the pallets into two assembly lines named for the condition of the pallet stringers. Number ones have all three stringers fully intact while the number twos have at least one of the three stringers repaired with a metal mending plate and/or wood blocking.

Industrial Pallet Corp. like Delaware Wood Products uses their waste wood to create mulch. They also recycle the metal that is magnetically Visiting Industrial Pallet Corp. near the removed from their wood chipper. end of our own building process gave us closure in regards to some lingering It was great for us to be questions about pallet characteristics. able to explain the way we We have come to understand pallets have come to understand throughout our build-design-build pallets and apply them to approach to this project, but some an architectural building mystery still remained before our visit to process to someone who Remington. Seeing the original processes knows pallets in a different first hand and having them explained to us way. We appreciated the feedback and clarified little things such as the meanings new questions that developed from our of the stamps we have come to know as meeting there as they reenergized us in the tattoos in our own process and the way final stretch to complete our built design. the fork holes are cut in the stringers using a dado bit rather than the CNC router we had imagined. We also learned about their process of mold guarding and heat treating pallets as are required before pallets are safe to use for food transport. The process in Clarks Hill is somewhat similar to Delaware Wood Products’ with the use of the horizontal band saws, but at a larger and somewhat more sophisticated scale. They have developed a process 66


Reviews From Afar

E-mail Correspondence with Jesse Miller January 31, 2011 From: Ashley VanMeter To: Jesse Miller Hi Jesse, We hope you are doing well and staying warmer than we are. We have been working on our thesis project and we just wanted to keep you in the loop since you were so helpful in getting our ideas flowing in Austin. We have attached a PDF of what we presented for our first pin up on Friday and we were hoping you might have some feedback for us. thanks! Ashley January 31, 2011 From: Jesse Miller To: Ashley VanMeter & Tayler Mikosz Great to hear from you and see what you have come up with. I’m staying warm and have actually moved to Mississippi for an internship. I’ll keep my eye out for material reuse. Today I saw an huge abandoned ship dock building with giant rusted trusses that had me dreaming of hanging rooms and connecting them with catwalks and elevated tunnels....someday. 82

I like where the physical project is going. I would branch out in materials further if you have time. Some painted metal would go to mimic the crazy colors of the building. You could make some cushions out of old fabric/bags and something like sawdust or styrofoam peanuts or even plastic grocery bags since they are everywhere. Pieces of glass (ranging in texture and color) would affect the light entering and hitting the storage and general area. Some more writing would be a great addition to your thesis (not sure if it’s required). Something that is critical and thought provoking, coupled with your physical piece, could become a great thesis project. Below are some comments/questions that popped to mind while going through what you sent me: is design build needed to be successful? Does the finder need to be the designer? Does the finder need to be the builder? Can these three be separate or would it resemble those impossible instructions for non-Ikea furniture? Maybe have a very simple second physical piece where you each play a different role in the process. The finder finds and designs then the builder follows the instructions. This could be for a lamp for the space or something not even related to it. Why materials first then design? Will this limit design? Does your finished piece end up being opposite this approach in that it becomes a place to store left-overs where people with designs in mind come to find materials second? What about the fact that using these materials is a break from standard materials. It loosens the dependence on standard materials and their standard use. Good? Bad? Neither? Does it enhance creativity? Is it just an exercise for creativity? This process is very chaotic in that sourcing is difficult, your brain goes in many different directions, one always wonders if that piece left behind could have made all the difference. Is this chaos beneficial to a designer? Is it more beneficial at different career levels? Can it drive one insane? Can it drive one to be a pack rat? Would it be worth for you to do a little exploring of the downsides of reuse in design? I wasn’t being serious in the first part of this question but I’d appreciate hearing what you think can go wrong or can be done wrong. And now the slightly harsh part. Pallets are not building materials being saved from going to the landfill. They are indeed being saved from the landfill or wood 83

chipper, but they didn’t come from a building. This is the disconnect from your stated inspiration to your finished product (for me at least); the fact that most of the final product is not material from a building. I suggest adding a step to your process where you do something that goes opposite the chair deconstruction. The chair deconstruction is similar to taking a part a building and seeing how things fit together and how salvageable the pieces are. But it should also inspire you to be able to make a chair from similar pieces. This is where the investigation pays off. I would go back to the salvage farm and get enough pieces of wood to build your own pallet. You wouldn’t need to make them all or even include it the final, but it shows that reusing actual building materials is a part of your inspiration and final product. Finally, first sentence second paragraph of the abstract reminds me of the Department of Redundancy Department. -Jesse February 9, 2011 From: Ashley VanMeter To: Jesse Miller Wow! Thanks for putting so much thought into your response. I think a lot of your questions are valid and we have addressed or are in the process of addressing most of them. Yes, there is writing required in addition to the physical project. We submitted a “book” at then end of last semester with our proposal, methodologies, literature reviews, etc., and we will be adding to that book in our final stages. We talked with Wes today about clarifying our philosophy a little more along with how to present it in an impactful way by maybe putting architects on the spot. It is so easy for us to all talk about sustainability and saving the environment, but why are we pretending we care about these things if we don’t? We need to spend a little bit more time practicing what we preach by minimizing our material waste. We are also starting to learn a little bit more about the emotional relationship between the maker and the made. If you have any thoughts on this we would love to hear them. To attempt to address your question about difficulties and what we think can go wrong... Collecting materials and getting them in to a usable state can be time and labor intensive. We realize this design approach is not for everybody, but we have 84

found several examples of designers who share our interests. I know you weren’t serious about this interest driving people crazy or to become pack rats, but in reality it could become a problem. We find ourselves not knowing exactly when to draw the line between what could be an interesting or useful piece to our project and what is of no real value to our process. Hopefully we can address this by creating rules or a system of organization that will help us filter our materials. Another thing that has potential to go wrong is with having preconceived notions about how you are going to use a particular material, but then not having enough of that material. That can also be an opportunity for design by pushing you to look at materials in a different way and emphasize the change that must occur due to your limited supply. We’ll keep working and trying to figure this whole thing out. Thank you for your comments and we will keep you updated on our progress. Ashley and Tayler February 11, 2011 From: Jesse Miller To: Ashley VanMeter & Tayler Mikosz “It is so easy for us to all talk about sustainability and saving the environment, but why are we pretending we care about these things if we don’t?” This statement confuses me. I hope it’s rhetorical and it isn’t your true feelings and that the “we” is the greater design community. But even if that is the form of the question the answer is quite simple: humans, even architects, live in the environment... they (we) constitute part of that environment. Living in a good environment would most often result in a better, healthy life. Much like how good design improves/ enhances life an unpolluted and responsibly used environment has the same effect. Even the action of knowingly not being destructive is mentally beneficial. Perhaps you should speak about this in your writing if you’re looking for ways to add depth. Maker and The Made. My belief is that it isn’t so much an emotional relationship as it is an understanding and appreciation; an understanding of how The Made is made and an appreciation of how The Made becomes more than The Made when added with other similar or different Mades. This can often start with physically interacting with 85

these objects. You probably have a bigger understanding and different appreciation of a chair now that you’ve taken it apart. Same with the pallets. You probably can spot minor differences that can have large impacts. And for me this shouldn’t be a monogamous relationship. The Maker or user of The Made should get her/his hands on as many different specimens as possible. Or get out in the world and just look without predictable eyes. I understand your urge to making rules or a system of organization. I don’t know what your project direction is going or what you and Wes have talked about, but I remember having similar thoughts at one time and feeling very overwhelmed. It seemed like an insurmountable task...something that seemed like simply an exercise, something done to fulfill an academic task rather than something useful. The standard and mass-produced material world is in the realm of the logical and the organized. It’s a lego system, a tinker toy canister, an erector set respectively. Stepping outside of the standard is not in the logical and easily organized realm. It’s the leftover pieces from these toy sets. It’s the stuff in the top drawer of the cabinet. It exists to be disorganized and the fact that using these materials is novel and can cause inspiration argues for them to not have rules or organization placed on them by us. They exist, our ideas exist, and when they meet the less cloudy thoughts the better. Only inspiration from others, an open mind, and a desire to make the discarded useful should be present. This is my outlook, and I generally don’t like requirements in anything, so I understand if you don’t agree. But I hope that you don’t get bogged down in something that may not be necessary, something that may stop your thesis from being fun! Keep me updated. -Jesse February 24, 2011 From: Ashley VanMeter To: Jesse Miller Hey Jesse, This is what we have been working on since the last time we presented. You can 86

look it over and let us know what you think when you get a chance. Thanks for staying involved and giving us feedback! We really appreciate it. Ashley February 27, 2011 From: Jesse Miller To: Ashley VanMeter This is quite different from the first update you sent me so it’s a bit difficult to understand where you are going, but if I’m understanding your process and the clues from the schedule correct, then the following comments apply. If my understanding is off, then this might not be helpful. It appears you are planning to take the original idea, which was site specific, and moving toward a different idea that can be mass produced, fairly easy to replicate, and probably fit in many different spaces. This interpretation comes from the “business plan” listed in the schedule along with the approach of mimicking a stack of pallets to somewhat randomly form storage space. Then the skins will be applied, further using other scrap materials and allowing for customization. This sounds like a fun project indeed. But I’m not sold on it yet. The first proposal you had was beginning to/did fit into that cubby space so nicely. It had potential to really and finally make that awkwardly dimensioned place into what it was probably intended to be by the architect. It was probably thought of as a great outlook space where the light and the views and the sounds all came together. What ended up happening was cheap furniture was placed in there that didn’t allow for views over the short wall and didn’t match the materials or the angles of the space at all. Your idea was fitting into it. It was setting one of those ledges apart. It was adaptive reuse in terms of materials and design. That’s why I’m not yet sold on your new direction, even though it seems promising. As for a viable business plan, real or make-believe, I think you still have a lot of work to do. A pallet would have to transform quite a bit for people to spend money to use it as a storage unit when they themselves could stack pallets and remove some of the boards to make storage space. And as of yet I don’t see that transformation. Or it 87

would need to be altered more than enough to make it recognizably do-it-yourself. For example look at this bench outside of the Reclaimed Space office included in the photo. And finally I’ll put some thoughts into the idea of architects prototyping, which you can take or leave or set aside. Architects usually fail at prototyping. I’m not sure why. I think it may have something to do with being obsessed with details but also being obsessed with the grand scheme and not being smart/able enough to deal with it. It’s like an astrophysicist trying to work out the quantum level with the multi-verse theory. Some can do it but many can’t. I’m not sure if that analogy makes sense. It’s probably more likely that architects get caught up in making products out of materials that shouldn’t be made into products. Shipping containers aren’t made for people. Shipping containers shouldn’t be houses, unless someone is very good at doing it. Pallets are made to handle loads, but also can easily be altered. But they’re pretty damn ugly. So the result better not look like a pallet if it’s going to be sold. The people that Wes talks about do make incredible structures from pallets, but that doesn’t mean most people wouldn’t describe it as ugly and stay away from it. I can see you are learning a lot from working with the pieces and the bones, but I see you trying to put the bones together to try to bring it back to life. But dead things don’t come back to life, they help make other things that may or may not resemble their previous selves. I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned what you discovered in the bench ordeal. What you came up with looks great! And it sounds like it would be a great bench to touch. That could definitely be something for the business plan and it shows a great process for a thesis project. OK, quick ideas that came to mind when writing this for making mass-produced options: -an x-frame made from pallets that is intriguing to the eye and is a sound structure -something based on a upright pallet, or several horizontal, with a dowel down the middle that can be rotated a full 360 degrees -porto pallet: uses pallet materials to make a carrying case that could open like an accordion or tv-tray-style (or it could be a simple hinge that isn’t overdone like those other two suggestions). maybe this is a business idea or a way to carry materials to and from the collection center to the studios. -you know those archive-library shelves that only have one physical space you can 88

occupy...the rest of the shelves all press together when not being accessed...they often have those big steering wheels on them to move each whole shelf. they’re used in hospitals and museums. I can’t remember the name. Anyway, something like that with vertical pallets. -Jesse

April 05, 2011 From: Tayler Mikosz To: Jesse Miller Hi Jesse, We just had our third pinup. The attached PDF is of the boards that we presented at this presentation. A few of the boards are similar just to remind you of ideas that were discussed earlier but are still relevant to our current understanding of the project. The project has progressed and grown a lot as far as our thinking and the final product outcome. We have three weeks to refine ideas and finish the built piece before our final presentation. We would love to know what you think about the project as it stands now. Thanks for your feedback Tayler Mikosz 89



Pocket shelter

Designer: Aaron Maret Location: Asheville, North Carolina

Aaron Maret is the founder of his own design-build firm. He does most of his work with salvaging materials, particularly wood. One of the projects he has been working on is the Pocket Shelter which is a 200 square foot dwelling unit built on a trailer from locally salvaged wood. Maret also writes about his work in the form of a blog where he expresses the difficulties and frustrations that come with designing and building with reused materials. It is interesting to read about the difficulties he has and the different ways he goes about solving them.

environmentally responsible in his own firm, but can sympathize with firm owners who have to forego some environmental responsibility of keep useful materials out of the landfills in order to be financially responsible. He understands it is easy to glamorize the subject of reuse, but in reality it is not all that easy to carry out in a meaningful and effective way.

Through his work with the Pocket Shelter project, Maret has gained a deep appreciation for the amount of extra time required to build with salvaged materials. He discusses the fact that since he works alone, he has the time to invest in crafting his once used materials, but he understands why most designers work only with new materials. He likes to be 92



Milgro Cargomatic

Milgro Cargomatic






Founders: Jan Körbes and Denis Oudendijk Location: The Hague, Holland

“Refunc is providing a second life for found or thrown-away objects. We operate on the borders of architecture, art and design and create new products from old materials. Origins for designs are found in the object itself, by listening to its own composition, history, or local and social context. We do not start from a design, we need a problem to play with. 3D troubleshooting and creative improvisation with locally available waste materials lead the way to our often unpredictable results. “Wherever you can find garbage, we do research and workshops on creative recycling.” From menu01.php

This group of two former architecture students became bored with the practice in traditional offices. They began looking for inspiration in the items that they found around them. “Being the garbage architects that we are, everything

provides us with inspiration.” The pair travels around the world using design to solve local problems with locally available materials. While staying in a place Refunc holds workshops to teach others how to recognize the potential in the objects they find around them. Their goal is to teach others how to reuse materials and to create new out of old. The way that they describe the inspiration that comes from a material makes a lot of sense to us. As we have been working with pallets we have learned to listen to the pallets. The material will tell you if it likes what you are trying to make it do. The more you have to fight with a material, the louder the material is telling you it does not want to do that particular thing. It is especially important to listen to your materials when they are being redefined from one purpose to another. 96



Reclaimed Space Founders: Tracen Gardner and Kimber Reed Location: Austin, TX

Reclaimed Space is a company that creates modular dwellings from salvaged materials. Their units work from a primary palette of four materials that are combined on the interior and exterior to create texture and historical character. Their typical materials are large planks of barn wood, ship lap (long leaf pine), hardwoods (oak, pine, walnut, cedar, mesquite, or a combination), and metal (corrugated, copper, tin, galvanized, pressed patterned, painted, or oxidized). The units are fitted with custom handmade furniture from reclaimed materials and vintage plumbing fixtures after the shell is built. They chose to see the art and beauty in the materials’ past lives through embracing weathering and marks of time. They say, “We begin with beautiful materials and then incorporate them into beautiful designs: open floor plans bathed in natural light, pitched roofs that create a larger feel, and textures that are irresistible. The design complements the

materials and vice versa, each showcasing the beauty and quality of the other� (Reclaimed Space). These principles of limiting the materials and embracing their natural beauty are something we can take with us and apply to our own design process. The possibilities of materials that could be used are virtually endless, but need to be limited to create a final polished look to the design. Reclaimed Space dwellings are considered to be environmentally proactive due to their goal of reducing landfill contributions and preserving the embodied energy of the salvaged materials. They also conserve energy by prefabricating their dwellings off site allowing them to reduce the amount of construction waste by 95%. Their typical process uses 80%-90% salvage material that come from abandoned and dilapidated houses and barns which are sorted and collected in their Austin warehouse. 98

Then they design a dwelling suiting their client’s needs using the materials they have collected. They fabricate the dwelling in their warehouse and then deliver the dwelling to the site. Once on site, they either place the structure on concrete blocks as a temporary foundation, or if the dwelling is to be permanent, concrete piers are poured and the structure is set and tied to them. When the company first started, the spaces were designed to be off the grid as a convenience to clients. Recently, Reclaimed Space has partnered with Dyocore (wind energy), Lighthouse Solar (solar energy), Pioneer Tanks (water catchment tanks), and SWS Loo (solar-evaporative toilets), making it possible for every Reclaimed Space to be self-sustaining or even contribute to the grid. On average, Reclaimed Space homes come in at around $115 per square foot, which makes them more affordable than average new homes both up front and long term. 99




Mason’s Bend Chapel Designer: Rural Studio, Auburn University under the direction of Samuel Mockbee Location: Mason’s Bend, AL

Completed in 2000, the concept behind the Mason’s Bend Chapel was to create a contemporary, yet vernacular community center for the people of Mason’s Bend. This is an interesting reuse project because it employs old Chevy Caprice windshields as a glass skin. The footprint of the pavilion was dictated by the triangular site it sits on, which was the former site of the bus Mason’s Bend citizens had been using as a church. The final design solution was to use rammed-earth walls to support the folded metal frame which provided a connection point for the windshields.

The process started with the students moving the old buss off the site and then starting to build. The rammedearth walls are a mixture of 30% clay and 70% sand combined with portland cement. The mixture was poured into six by eight inch forms and compressed with a pneumatic tamper. The trusses were harvested from cypress trees near

the site, but were cured and laminated off site. The students used the leftover cypress wood to handcraft the benches for the inside of the chapel. The windshields were purchased in a Chicago junk yard for $120 and delivered to the Alabama site. The steel was donated to the project making the total cost of the pavilion between $15,000 and $20,000.

This thesis project was a great designbuild opportunity for the Rural Studio students to learn about resourcefulness; however it left much to be desired in terms of sustainable practices. In many ways, the concepts and intentions behind this project were good, but as of December 2007, the Mason’s Bend Chapel was in a state of ruin. This brings me to question the validity of a citizen architect or student designing for a client rather than with a client. Their solutions may have been too far removed from the local culture and the design 102

Photos: this page- all taken shortly after construction was completed in 2000. opposite page- Chapel in a state of ruins, all taken in December 2007.

language of the local place making the people feel like it was not their building. Projects like this tend to be more successful if the clients voices are heard more and they are more invested in the entire design and building process. Also, the windshields that are glamorized in this project were purchased in Chicago and then driven across the country before they were installed. It seems like the students may have been able to find somewhere more local to collect their materials. Since the Rural Studio seems to place no emphasis on documenting their building details and processes, it is clear that they are only working for their own benefit and have little interest is building a body of knowledge to share with their intellectual colleagues. 103




Lance Armstrong Foundation Architect: Lake|Flato Location: Austin, TX

The Lance Armstrong Foundation decided to purchase a 30,000 square foot abandoned warehouse, previously owned by Gulf Coast Paper Co., and establish a permanent home in Austin, Texas. The program of the space created a facility with office space, meeting rooms, dining facilities, an in-house gymnasium, and an open-air courtyard. This project is relevant to our thesis topic because 90% of the materials from the warehouse deconstruction were reused in the new space. In addition, more than 50% of the construction waste was salvaged and reused in the new space for bench seating and outdoor pavers. The Lance Armstrong Foundation has achieved LEED Gold status for their efforts, under the consultation of the Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems. This project shows its true beauty by giving new life to the building and to the neighborhood and creating metaphor for the underlying goals of the Lance

Armstrong Foundation. This is important because the foundation is meant to give people hope from what seemed to be destined failure and despair, and now their building is providing a similar example to the neighborhood in which it resides. Lance Armstrong himself is quoted as saying, “[We] kept an eye on the materials and the impact this building would have on the land around� (Lake Flato). Photos: top- Gulf Coast Paper Co. bottom- Lance Armstrong Foundation


austin, texas

67% 66%

reduced water use

of construction waste diverted from landfill


of building shell reused

leed facts ®

lance armstong foundation austin, texas leed for major renovation certification awarded november 19, 2009



sustainable sites


Water efficiency


energy & atmosphere


materials & resources


indoor environmental Quality


innovation & design


*Out of a possible 69 points the information provided is based on that stated in the leed® project certifica-

tion submittals. usgBc and chapters do not warrant or represent the accuracy 107

of this information. each building’s actual performance is based on its unique design, construction, operation, and maintenance. energy efficiency and sus-




Huts and Low-Riders Designer: Mad Housers Location: Atlanta, GA

Started in 1987 as a thesis project at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Huts and Low-Riders provide a nontraditional shelter to Atlanta’s homeless population. The designers learned to use the law to their advantage, placing the huts usually without building permits or permission from land owners. The huts are generally about forty-eight square feet and are constructed from wood, recycled studs, and salvaged doors. They are all equipped with locks and a makeshift stove. The Huts are not intended to be permanent dwellings, but rather a place of privacy, security, protection from the elements, and stability for clients as they get back on their feet. The Mad Housers’ ideas and tactics became very controversial once they were noticed by the media. Finally, the Mad Housers and the city came to an agreement that the huts would be ignored by the city unless a land owner complained. Their ideas spread across the country and

huts started being built in places such as California, Wisconsin, and Illinois. Eventually the original group of Mad Housers split up, but a new group formed keeping the original mission intact. The Low-Riders came into commission when the new group of Mad Housers realized the ten foot height of the old huts was too tall to fit in common homeless living spaces, such as under bridges. The process of building Huts starts by collecting materials, and then follows an eleven step assembly process. Step one is setting the floor. Step two is putting up the back wall and one of the side walls, and then putting up the second side wall is the third step. The fourth step is putting up the front wall. After that the loft supports have to be installed. The sixth step is installing the loft and squaring up the hut. Step seven is installing the flooring, ladder, and gables. After that, the ridge beam 110


and trusses are added. Steps nine and ten are installing both halves of the roof. The final step in assembly is installing the door. Finally the hut is ready for the stove installation and paint. There is a lot of value in this project due to its bold approach to bettering peoples’ lives by giving them dignity in an affordable way. They say, “if a person has a secure space from which to operate, they are much more capable of finding the resources to help themselves� (Mad Housers). Each Hut or Low-Rider costs between $300 111

and $500, which is completely funded by individual donations and volunteer labor. This is a relatively low cost, but it seems the Mad Housers may be missing an opportunity with some of their purchases, such as wood. Their shelters could potentially cost even less if they would develop a plan to salvage more materials from construction site dumpsters. The Mad Housers do have a great method of documenting their processes and recording them to share with academia as well as to simply inform other anxious builders who want to make a difference in the world.











Pavilion at 4401

Designers: Jason Barisano, Kyle Hardie, Ryan Hinz and Ben Luebke Location: Munice, IN

The Pavilion at 4401 was a design-build thesis by four Ball State students in the 2004-2005 school year. The four students wanted to work together on a project that would reach out to the Muncie community. Through this thesis, the students were looking for an educational experience taking them out of the classroom. Through a classmate, the group partnered up with the Lutheran Church of the Cross. The students met with the church community to find out the needs of the new structure. The students broke into two groups and came up with the first schematic designs. After reviewing the designs with the church, the best qualities of both designs were combined to form a final design. Once the design was presented to the church, construction began. To stay within the $5,000 budget, the students looked for salvaged materials. Connection through church members allowed the students to get many of the

materials for free. Members also donated money, time and space to the student project. The wood beams came from a barn loft which the students removed themselves. They provided the labor in exchange for the deconstructed material. Spread sheets and cut sheets were made to ensure accuracy and to maximize the material. Limestone scraps were donated and used for the flooring in the pavilion. Steel pieces were made of scrap metal that was also donated by church members. Through this design-build process, the students learned about real world challenges including: dealing with non-architecture clients, budgeting, construction, and interacting with salespeople. This project took them a step farther than previous studios in which the end product was a set of drawings. The students learned about themselves and about collaborating with other people. This experience is one that they can take with them into the 114

professional world of architecture. Looking back, the students realized how important the help and support of the church community had been. Without that help the students would not have been able to complete the project. The project was a great addition to the Lutheran Church of the Cross and will have a lasting impact on the students as well as the community. Through studying the obstacles faced by this group of students during their design-build thesis, we hope to have an open perspective and idea of the challenges that lay ahead in completing our own design-build master’s thesis. 115



Yancey Chapel

Designer: Rural Studio, Auburn University Location: Sawyerville, AL

Yancey Chapel was completed as a thesis project by students of the Rural Studio. Ruard Veltman, Steve Durden, and Tom Tretheway designed and built the chapel in Sawyerville, Alabama. Yancey Chapel is built on a bluff overlooking the old Morrison farm. The chapel was placed around an existing concrete cow trough on site. The trough acts as a natural director to the entrance and as a relic from the past. The entrance is low and tight, following along the long entry wall. Guests enter the chapel over a metal grate under which water flows. The water comes from a slit in wall and flows into the font. The low bend in the roof structure is meant to resemble a caved in barn. The walls are constructed of old tires rammed with dirt. The tires were donated by Central Tire Company in an effort to follow a court order to clear their lot. Reinforcing bars add support to the tire structure. The exterior of the tires are covered in mesh and stucco.

The stucco clings to roundness of the tires, alluding to the objects of support that lie underneath. The stacking effect of the tires creates small ledges on which candles and flowers can rest. The floor is paved in slate taken from a nearby creek. The slit in the middle of the roof structure allows ample light to filter into the space and directs views to the heavens. The end opposite the entry is an open view to the wetlands that lie below. With the use of salvaged materials, the group was able to keep the cost of chapel to their $15,000 budget.


Salvaged Materials: 900 tires Existing concrete cow trough Quarried floor slates Pine timbers from an abandoned building Tin shingles Scrap metal


While the Yancey Chapel is a good example of material reuse, we have several critiques. The chapel is meant to be used by the community, yet it is placed on private property. In the description of the chapel it sounds as though the students came up with a plan and got someone to go along with it, rather than asking what the community really needed. It seems unlikely that the chapel will get much use due to its location on this private piece of land as opposed to being a more public space. The construction technique of using the tires is a great use of a material that would otherwise be discarded, but the students have no documentation of the process that would help others to attempt a similar technique. It seems that the students would want to let others learn from their experience. Sharing this knowledge would add value to their efforts and would contribute a wider body of knowledge outside of themselves and the Rural Studio. 120


The Jellyfish Theatre Designer: Martin Kaltwasser and Folke Kรถbberling Location: London, England

The Jellyfish Theatre was a temporary structure built in a playground a 10 minute walk from the Globe Theatre in London, England. The theatre was built entirely from recycled and donated materials. A steel framework forms the structural support for the theatre. Seating capacity was set at 120 people which met all local building, fire and safety regulations. Materials included old school furniture, timber pallets, front doors, recycled nails, large water bottles, and an array of other donated materials. The materials were gathered from local sites and businesses. All of the materials are items that if not part of the theatre, would have been on their way to the dump. Although temporary, the materials were to be recycled again for other projects after the theatre was dismantled.

process. Thousands of volunteer hours were put into the construction by local residents and business people, making it a true community theatre. The actors and directors were involved with the construction and Martin Kaltwasser and Folke Kรถbberling read the scripts for each play. The theatre and plays were part of cohesive concept to alert people to the current issue of global warming.

The goal behind the theatre was to make a statement about our excessive production of waste. The two plays performed in the theatre related to the issues of rebuilding after an environmental catastrophe that is likely to happen if we continue to ignore the effects of our trash production on the planet. Even the name is meant to get people to think about our effect on the planet. Jellyfish Construction of the theatre was loosely are fragile creatures that depend on us based off of a plan, but was mostly to keep their water clean and unpolluted. improvised during the construction 122


This theatre shows you can create architecture with trash. The space is about the spirit of the place and the community around it. The process of building it and seeing the shows together is what makes it a great success. Even though the building was temporary, it was able to bring the community together and to point out important issues of stewardship to the environment. The space could have been made from new metal and lumber, but would it have had the character and made the same statement? 124



Literature Review

Abandoned Couches Peggy Archer

Building with Reclaimed Components and Materials: A Design Handbook for Reuse and Recycling Peggy Archer photographs abandoned Bill Addis furniture, mostly couches, and posts the photographs and captions on her This book talks a lot about the design website. It is almost overwhelming how process of designing and building many couches she comes across in her with reclaimed materials as opposed everyday life and it brings us to question to designing and building with new what solutions we may find to counter materials. The author also addresses the seemingly unnecessary disposal of decision making when using reclaimed potential building materials. materials. He suggest coming up with a system so as to evaluate the value of each material somewhat objectively. The The Alley Flat Initiative decision criteria he looks for includes the availability of the material, the ease of This is an interesting project happening refurbishment, liability, environmental in Austin, Texas. The goal is to make benefits, cost, and old fashioned common use of homeowners’ back lots facing the sense. underutilized Austin alleys and convert them into useful spaces, many of which reuse materials found on the site. 126


Efficient and Affordable Modular House Made From Wood Pallets The Center for Maximum Potential Bridgette Meinhold Building Systems in Austin, Texas is constantly searching for new low budget, Paletten Haus is a small modular home low environmental impact, yet highly built completely from pallets. Pallets are effective means of constructing buildings used for all of the structural elements and systems. A project of particular including: walls, ceiling, floor, and sun interest is their response shelter to the shading device. This project embodies earthquake in Haiti. The main structure the spirit of the pallet and builds using is built using plywood which is cut to its natural strength. Standards sizing and completely eliminate waste because the availability worldwide make pallets a would-be-waste is used to construct universal building material. the furniture within. The foundation is made from the rubble found on site in Graypants’ Gorgeous Recycled Scrap Chairs the earthquake zone. Mike Chino Graypants was founded by Jonathan Design Like You Give a Damn: Architectural Junker and Seth Grizzle after meeting at Responses to Humanitarian Crises Kent State University. Mike Chino writes Architecture for Humanity about their recycled scrap chair project is a thought-provoking experiment in This book has several examples of small upcycling materials. They chose one buildings on small budgets that make design and made four different materials: a big difference in society. Due to the cardboard boxes, freight pallet slip nature of many of these projects, they sheets, newspapers, and plywood scraps, employ the reuse of materials to keep the fit its constraints. Each chair has its own costs low. We found several worthwhile unique look even though they all fit the precedent studies in this book which also same profile. This is interesting because lists other places, such as websites, to get it is kind of the opposite design approach more information about the particular many other designers seem to be taking projects. when upcycling materials. Graypants chose the design first and then found the salvaged materials they could use to make it where many other salvage designers seem to find their materials and then find the potential in them. 127

Imagine Paying Just $1 for a Home -- Plus I-Beam Palette House Moving Expenses Design Boom Aubrey Cohen The “I-Beam Palette House� article This article discusses the abandoned talks about the possibility for turning house Frank-Michael Rebhan was able to shipping pallets into transitional housing purchase in Seattle for one dollar. The for refugees of Kosovo as well as other only condition was that he would have to disaster sites. It discusses how pallets deconstruct it or it would be demolished. can be used to ship supplies to countries He was able to completely deconstruct around the world and then repurposed the house and essentially rebuild it on into housing. The article claims that as another site just a few blocks from where time goes on and traditional materials it was originally built. This article was such as concrete, stucco, and roofing noteworthy because she talks about the tiles become available, the shelter can value in keeping the house out of the be transformed into a permanent home. landfill as well as the financial benefits This is a curious concept because the to both the new developer saving in article suggests eventually the goal for demolition costs and the new owner this project would be to hide the pallets paying much less than they would to within a shell of new materials. This build something completely new. seems to conflict with the original idea to reuse materials and makes reuse seem as if it is a second rate or even taboo form Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass of design. Consumption (2003-2005) Chris Jordan Chris Jordan is a photographer who questions mass consumption, particularly in America. His images truly capture the frivolity with which so many of us are guilty of using and disposing of products. It is interesting to see how he can capture these ugly truths in such beautiful art.


Junkitecture and the Jellyfish Theatre Jonathan Glancey

The huts are built using a number of reclaimed materials making them relatively inexpensive to build compared to a building of similar size built from all new materials. This is interesting to us because it seems as though the Mad Housers would be able to salvage enough material to make the huts entirely from construction scraps or materials salvaged from abandoned buildings.

The Jellyfish Theatre was built entirely from reused and donated material. The theatre was a temporary structure built in a parking lot a 10 minute walk from the Globe Theatre. Two plays were performed during the theater exhibition which dealt with rebuilding after catastrophe. The project brought attention to the possible disasters that could happen if we continue to make Material, Method and Place: Architectural garbage as we do today. Investigations through Making Timothy Gray Lance Armstrong Foundation Lake | Flato Lake Flato architects go over the design process and development of the Lance Armstrong Foundation building in Austin, Texas. The information on how the building obtained its LEED Gold certification is of particular interest. The Mad Housers The Mad Housers in Atlanta provide low income shelter for people in need of housing. This helps give people the security and dignity they need to get back on their feet and back in to “normal� society. They build six by eight foot lockable huts in which people can sleep, cook, and store their possessions. 129

This article is about two temporary projects built by students. It describes the processes and the lessoned learned in each project. In the Milk House Installation students had to balance their design efforts between the aesthetic and the repairs needed for the project. Cost and time for construction also had to be considered in the design. Through the project students were trying to understand the history of the site by peeling back the layers of the site. Materials were harvested from an adjacent barn and collected from the original site. These materials were used to create a viewing platform that directed visitors to see the important moments that the students had discovered in the milk house. Light Sail was a much shorter project in which students found materials and had a very small budget for construction of their

installation. Students were working more use of the pallet as a cooling system on the fly and had to solve problems with rather than a structural system for a design as they built. An adjacent building building. provided the students with the materials and inspiration for their project. On Salvage This article talks about the importance Aaron Maret of seeing problems in the construction process as an opportunity for design. Aaron Maret is the founder of his own In the construction of our thesis we design-build practice in Asheville, North anticipate some unintended building Carolina. He does a lot of work with problems. As long as we remember to see salvaging materials, particularly wood. these problems as opportunity for design, His writing “On Salvage” rousing in we can continue to improve the design a good way because it provides a nice until final completion. In constructing reality check on the difficulties with using Light Sail functional issues defined the salvaged materials. We are anticipating aesthetic. By choosing materials before some frustrations with the physical designing we hope to be able to explore act of making found materials into a appropriate uses of material to create an carefully crafted design. It is nice to see aesthetic that also works functionally and someone else address these difficulties structurally for the material and design. and still carry on with the same vigor and enthusiasm we hope to bring to our own project. It is so easy to glamorize this Modern Manifesto House Made From Wood subject, but in reality it is not all that easy Pallets and Shipping Containers to carry out in a meaningful and effective Bridgette Meinhold’s way. This article talks about the ability to create a modern house economically and quickly with sustainable materials. The author defines sustainable materials in this case as “pre-made materials like shipping containers and wooden pallets.” She also talks about the pallets used not only as cladding, but as a shading device which naturally cools the structure. This article points out an atypical architectural

Reclaimed Space Tracen Gardner and Kimber Reed The design team at Reclaimed Space is doing some great things with prefabricated homes built almost entirely from salvaged materials. The company salvages most of the wood themselves from old barns and farmhouses in the 130

Austin, Texas area. The spaces are built to client specifications. These modular units are built in the warehouse and then delivered to the site. The designers are learning to get smarter with building and even go beyond reuse and in to off-thegrid technology. It is interesting to see how a concept so simple can turn into such beautifully highly designed spaces that can become self-sustaining. Their materials in many ways are not only given a second life, but are more beautiful than they were the first time around. redBarn Installation Timothy Gray & Michael Williams The redBarn was an installation designed and installed by architecture students from Ball State University and Ohio State University. The project was installed in a private barn in Carmel, Indiana. Students visited the barn and began clearing the space for the installation. The focus of the installation was to see potential in an old barn and to see this familiar site in a new light. Through observation, drawing and writing the students identified seven recurring themes. Each of the seven parts of the installation represented one of these themes. The parts worked together as a machine to recall the motion of activities from the farm. The installation was made from found materials collected during the clearing out of the barn. 131

The emphasis on experience through making is a lesson we can apply to our design-build project. This reading encourages us to see the story that material has to tell. By understanding the material we use, we can create a new product that speaks to the past life of materials. In the redBarn installation, the students were expressing the experiences of the old barn through there build exhibit. Guests can see the artifacts from the site and how they all work together on the farm. This type of expression should influence the way in which we use materials, to show others how it was previously used. Rematerial: From Waste to Architecture Alejandro Bahamon and Maria Camila Sanjines Rematerial is a compilation of projects that have reused materials. Examples cover a wide range of materials and reuse strategies. One project explores the ideas of using straw bales and produce crates as building materials in Mexico. Another uses smashed cars to build an exterior wall for an exhibit on cars. Strategies range from reusing materials on the same site, to reusing materials from one site to another. Each project is accompanied by a diagram explaining the reuse process. Many projects also include design drawings including plans and sections to give an overall understanding

of the design, beyond just the reuse of the material. This book has excellent examples of people reusing materials for big and small projects. It shows that every project can include salvaged materials which can improve the economic and aesthetic value of the project.

book covers the design-build project of the Pavilion at 4401 for the Lutheran Church of the Cross. Looking at another group’s thesis has made us aware of possible problems that we may come across. It has been instrumental in our thinking about how to document and present our own design-build process. We were predominantly interested in the Rural Studio: Samuel Mockbee and an use of salvaged materials in their project, Architecture of Decency but it was great to begin to grasp the Andrea Oppenheimer Dean & Timothy planning that went in to their project and Hursley the successes and failures they had along the way. This book documents several of the projects from the Rural Studio at Auburn University. The projects Tiny Free House focus on providing structures for rural Michael Janzen communities in Alabama. The program is a great way for students to get out of Michael Janzen is on a mission to build a the classroom and to learn about building tiny house made primarily from shipping by doing it themselves. It talks about pallets for free. Any money he spends on the culture and the people for which the the building materials or process, such as projects were constructed as well as the buying new fasteners, will be recuperated materials they were constructed from. by selling discarded things he finds. His It does not, however, document the main reason for using pallets he says is, process of building or how the design “it just seems like poetic justice for a teams arrived at their final designs. house that questions consumerism to be made from the very things that carried so many products to market.” His website Sidewalk Ends: a Design-Build Thesis has a blog that gives periodic updates on Jason Barisano, Kyle Hardie, Ryan Hinz his progress as well as answers people’s & Ben Luebke questions about why he is doing what he is doing. “Sidewalk Ends: A Design-Build Thesis” is a book put together by four undergraduate students in 2005. The 132

“Type Mismatch: Recycled Refrigerator + Car Urban Farm Project Is High Design From Seat Couches” Humble Materials Dornob Design Ideas Daily Andrew Michler This article discusses the value found in “vintage trash.” The article is about a specific design of a couch made from an old refrigerator and a car seat, but its ideals can be transplanted into other projects. It talks about the couches being more than “the sums of their parts” but rather an exercise in craft and design. This is the kind of careful decision making we would like to carry over into our final project thinking and making.

Students in Denver, Colorado designed and built two shelters for an urban farm located on the property of an abandoned airport. One shelter is a goat milking shed and the other acts as a meeting space, classroom, and market place for produce. Students used mostly salvaged materials to construct the two shelters. Steel boxes are the framework into which pallets are installed as an infill wall system. Concrete rubble is stacked and wrapped in mesh wire to form the side of the goat milking shelter. Through Unbuilding the use of a limited selection of salvaged Bob Falk and Brad Guy material the students were able to show the community that reusing materials can This book talks about the reverse process be sustainable and can create a pleasing of building a house. The most useful aesthetic. parts in regards to our final project are about developing plans for the materials you salvage and assessing what is “9 Green Architecture Student Projects That reusable. These parts talk about keeping Make the Grade” organized and being able to distinguish Andrew Michler assets from liabilities in materials. There are also helpful sections on processes, This is an article about design-build such as denailing, which will most likely projects involving the reuse of materials. be a part of the design-build project that Noteworthy in this article is the new results from this research. This book trend for creating designed spaces is full of images showing step by step for untraditional things such as the processes of deconstruction, helpful Goat Milking Shed built by students at hints, and safety tips. the University of Colorado, Denver. This is sort of an uplifting concept to programmatically change the way 133

we think about our place in the world as humans as well as the humility with which architects should be designing. With a little effort, we can find beauty in the mundane.


8/24/2010 9/8/2010 10/5/2010 10/6/2010 11/4/2010 11/8/2010 11/14/2010 11/16/2010 11/18/2010 12/2/2010 12/4/2010 12/6/2010 12/9/2010 12/10/2010 12/14/2010 1/10/2011 1/17/2011 1/19/2011 135

Begin ARCH 601 First Meeting with Wes Janz - Muncie, IN First Meeting with Jesse Miller - Austin, TX Visit Reclaimed Space Visit Alley Flat Initiative Visit Lance Armstrong Foundation Meet with Jesse Visit Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems End ARCH 601 Meet with Wes and the ARCH 602 crew - CAP Gallery Visit the pavilion at Lutheran Church of the Cross - Muncie, IN Meet with Wes about focusing "the project" Ashley and Tayler decide to team up for the final project Meet with Wes and the ARCH 602 crew - Architecture Faculty Lounge Meet with Kyle Hardie about the pavilion at Lutheran Church of the Cross - Noblesville, IN Rescue first pallet from the CAP dumpster Meet with Wes and the ARCH 602 crew for Pecha Kucha presentations - AB 425 Rescue more pallets from CAP Meet with Wes about "the book" Meet with Michel Mounayar about proposal and site Turn in Final Project Proposal Report Chair Deconstruction Study Meet with Wes - Nick Satterfield thesis presentation Meet with Wes about progress Visit Heath Farm with Wes and Ben McHugh Send out student and faculty surveys Collect Bart's unwanted materials from storage room in CAP basement


Significant Dates and Actions 1/21/2011 1/24/2011 1/26/2011 1/28/2011 1/31/2011 2/7/2011 2/8/2011 2/9/2011 2/11/2011 2/13/2011 2/14/2011 2/15/2010 2/16/2011 2/17/2011 2/18/2011 2/20/2011 2/21/2011

Chose 2nd floor site Begin massing mockups Meet with Wes about progress Continue mockups Meet with Walter Grondzik and the CAP Sustainability Committee Continue mockups/prepare for pin up 1st pin up- developing conceptual strategy Get feedback from Jesse Miller Disassemble a site model from last semester to reclaim wood e-mail first year students about collecting materials from their installations Disassemble our first pallet Meet with Wes Disassemble several more pallets Prototyping with pallets-stacking, dowel connections, wire connections Experimentation with mirrors- light and reflections Sort and remove fasteners from materials collected from first year installations Meet with Wes Try Metal Banding as a connection technique Prototyping with pallet "bones" Prototyping with pallet "bones" Experimentation with screen as a skin Meet with Wes Meet with Michel Mounayar Meet with Ana de Brea Experimentation with "cleaning" one surface of pallet boards Discover glue is not what we want to use to laminate boards together Meet with Wes 136

2/22/2011 2/23/2011 2/25/2011 2/28/2011 3/1/2011 3/3/2011 3/7/2011 3/14/2011 3/15/2011 3/16/2011 3/17/2011 3/18/2011 3/19/2011 3/21/2011 3/23/2011 3/25/2011 3/26/2011 3/27/2011 3/28/2011 3/29/2011 3/31/2011 4/1/2011 4/4/2011 4/6/2011 4/7/2011 4/8/2011 4/9/2011 4/10/2011 4/11/2011 137

Try using only pallets for overall form Experiment with metal rod and bolts as a connector Test tung oil as a finish on the clean surface 2nd pin-up- design proposal Meet with Wes Work on design proposals Visit Delaware Wood Products LLC. - Muncie, IN Meet with Wes Spring Break Meet with Wes Research hardware connections (turnbuckles) Look for pallets in Muncie area Get pallets delivered from Heath Farm Meet with Wes Meet with Ana de Brea Inventory pallets Meet with Wes Begin subtraction process in final structure Drill holes for threaded rods in pallet wall Deconstruct more pallets Sanding people pallet Drill holes for threaded rods in people pallet Meet with Wes Sanding people pallet Work on digital communications Mock up turnbuckle detail Finish people pallet 3rd pin-up- Near Final Meet with Wes Work on details Test mending plates as connectors Meet with Wes Detail bones connection with threaded rods Selective Sanding Test painting tattoos Cut threaded rods Work on slat wall

4/12/2011 4/13/2011 4/14/2011 4/15/2011 4/17/2011 4/18/2011 4/19/2011 4/22/2011 4/25/2011 4/26/2011 4/29/2011 5/4/2011 5/7/2011

Decide to use only threaded rods as connectors, no turnbuckles Apply Tattoos Meet with Ana Final disassembly, cleaning, and tattooing Visit Heath Farm with Wes and Ana Visit Industrial Pallet Corp. - Remington, IN, and Clarks Hill, IN Final assembly Finishing touches and presentation prep Fill with materials Final Presentation Meet with Wes Work on manual Meet with Ana Finish manual Commencement


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Bahamón, Alejandro, and Maria Camila. Sanjinés. Rematerial: from Waste to Architecture. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2010. Print.

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Gray, Timothy. Material, Method and Place: Architectural Investigations Through Making. Ball State University. Print.

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Hardie, Kyle. Personal Interview. 2 Dec. 2010. “I-Beam Palette House.” Design Boom. 28 Nov. 2010 <>. Janz, Wes. “Dumpsters.” Polar Inertia Journal. Mar.-Apr. 2005. Web. 17 Nov. 2010. < dumpsters01.htm>. Janz, Wes. “The Living World: On Not Being Here a Long Time.” Proc. of The Living World: On Not Being Here A Long Time, ACSA Interanational Meeting, Helsinki, Finland. Issuu - You Publish. July 2003. Web. 14 Nov. 2010. <http://>. Janzen, Michael. “Tiny Free House.” Tiny House Design. 2010. 28 Nov. 2010 <>. Jordan, Chris. “Intolerable Beauty: Portraits of American Mass Consumption (2003-2005).” Chris Jordan Photographic Arts. 28 Nov. 2010 < intolerable/#pallets%201>. “Lance Armstrong Foundation.” Lake | Flato. 20 Oct. 2010 <>. “Mad Housers.” Flickr. 28 Nov. 2010 < com/groups/madhousers>.

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Potentializing: A Challenge in Thinking and Making  

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