University of BrightonThe prototype house.

British architect Duncan Baker-Brown is vehement about the idea that trash doesn’t exist. Or rather, it’s not really trash — it’s just material that needs to be relocated. Like, for instance, relocated into a building made out of the stuff that’s going up this fall on the campus of the University of Brighton. “There is a huge pile of construction waste that’s building up in this country and to ignore is quite frankly sinful,” Baker-Brown, co-founder of BBM Sustainable Design, told the Guardian. “Through this project we are going to show that there is no such thing as waste.” 

Gosh, having a posh double-barreled name sure gives people license to spout some rather grand ideas. But as this is not the first building of its kind Baker-Brown has constructed — using a frame made of waste timber products, with waste material constructed into capsules slotted in between the timber structure — we are just going to assume he knows what he’s talking about, and that there is actually no such thing as waste but you can still make buildings out of it.

No one will be surprised to know that students, apprentices, local builders, and schoolchildren are going to be involved in the construction of this place. Nor should it be a shock that, once constructed, this building will house rooms for local community groups and serve as the university’s headquarters for sustainable design. Wouldn’t it be funny if one of these utopian little projects was built to house the Galactic Empire or the Heritage Foundation? Yeah. It would.

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