Plastics Buildings for the Homeless ?

CaptureRecently, I came across this video which in short highlights an initiative to provide housing for homeless in Columbia by building 430sqft structures out of recycled plastic!

At a glance, it is a brilliant altruistic idea that has a lot of potential in helping an array of housing and environmental issues present in almost every country. This not only includes populations that are homeless, but those that may have been displaced due to naturally occurring disasters, social/political strife, war, or those areas which are experiencing shortages of material or an abundance of trash. The process demonstrated in the video appears simple enough:

Collect plastics (bottles, containers, etc.) → mill them down → melt and mold into bricks → stack via tongue and groove.

Capture 2On a more critical note, I still harbor some questions about it:

  • The structural stability of these houses
  • The lifespan of the material ( how it will degrade and affect the environment)
  • Potential hazardous health effects from long-term exposure to the plastics and additives
  • Large-scale  feasibility for a large issue

What are your thoughts on utilizing this material? I would also love to hear  if you know more about the specifics of this project?

Las Vegas Food Hub:On the ground

Landing over Lake Mead

We had been discussing Las Vegas primary water source for weeks and we were finally able to view it from above!

Site Visit

I was surprised by the amount of street art surrounding the site and the fact that there wasn’t many people around other than those waiting at the bus stop.  Nevertheless, having my own ties with urban contemporary art I found the present works intriguing.

Container Park and Downtown

First Friday

As the name infers, this event occurs on our site ( featured above) every first Friday of the month. It was a massive event with many food vendors as well as live art and music. It was a really eye-opening lesson in how an otherwise uninhabited space could be activated by a little food!


Savannah: Architectural Significance of the First African Baptist Church

While on a black history tour in Savannah, GA. I had the opportunity to enter and move about this awesome historic building in the heart of downtown. I will share the series of photos I was able to capture. However, I encourage learning about its history by reading the following excerpt from the First African Baptist Church website.:

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First African Baptist Church was organized in 1773 under the leadership of Reverend George Leile. In May of 1775 he was ordained as the pastor and December of 1777 the church was officially constituted as a body of organized believers. Under the leadership of the 3rd Pastor Reverend Andrew C. Marshall, the congregation obtained the property where the present sanctuary stands. Marshall also organized the first black Sunday school in North America and changed the name of the church from “First Colored Baptist” to “First African Baptist”. The sanctuary was completed in 1859 under the direction of the 4th Pastor Reverend William J. Campbell.

The sanctuary still contains many of the historical elements that have allowed the congregation to preserve much of its rich history.  The stained-glass windows installed during the Pastorate of Reverend George Gibbons, 5th Pastor, can still be found along the edifice.  A stained-glass window of Rev. George Leile is located outside, in front of the church.

fab sanctuary

The light fixtures, baptismal pool, and 1832 Pipe Organ are all original to the church. They were installed during the Pastorate of Reverend Emmanuel King Love.  The light fixtures were originally gas at one time, but were later converted into electricity. The solid oak pews were installed in the main sanctuary during the early 1900’s under the leadership of the 7th Pastor Reverend James Wesley Carr.

The pews located in the balcony are original to the church.  These pews were made by slaves, and are nailed into the floors. On the outside of the pews are markings written in the African dialect known as “Cursive Hebrew”.

The ceiling of the church is in the design of a “Nine Patch Quilt” which represented that the church was a safe house for slaves. Nine Patch Quilts also served as a map and guide informing people where to go next or what to look out for during their travel.

The holes in the floor are in the shape of an African prayer symbol known as a Congolese Cosmogram. In Africa, it also means “Flash of the Spirits” and represents birth, life, death, and rebirth.

Beneath the lower auditorium floor is another finished subfloor which is known as the “Underground Railroad”. There is 4ft of height between both floors. The entrance to the Underground Railroad remains unknown. After leaving our tunnel, slaves would try to make their way as far north as possible. There are no records as to who went through the tunnel or how many.

First African Baptist Church has been a place of leadership and service since its inception.  Reverend Emmanuel King Love, 6th Pastor, led the movement to establish Savannah State University, formerly known as Georgia State Industrial College for Colored Youth. Rev. Love also played a big role in the establishment of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA; Paine College in Augusta, GA.

The church served as the largest gathering place for blacks and whites to meet during the time of segregation. In Savannah, GA, some blacks were not allowed to march with their graduating class. Instead, they had separate ceremonies which were held at First African Baptist Church. 

The civil rights museum in Savannah, GA is named in honor of former pastor, Rev. Dr. Ralph Mark Gilbert, for his courageous work during the Civil Rights movement in the South.”

Visitors from all walks of life have visited out sanctuary and left inspired including Grammy award-winning artist John Mellencamp, actor and civil rights activist Lou Gossett, Jr., Rev. Dr. Jesse Jackson, former Vice President Al Gore, Debbie Allen, and Wally Amos.

Currently Reverend Thurmond N. Tillman currently serves as the 17th pastor of the church. He was called to serve as pastor in 1982. He serves on many organization boards that help empower the people of Savannah, GA.  Our present mission is to Seek God, Shape Lives, and Serve the World.

Stumbled upon a treasured tool

As  you may have picked up on I’m really into inspirational design and creating spaces.  I can’t even tell you how many hours I’ve spent just creating homes on the game SIMs and letting my families go to pot. I can, however, share with you this cool and wonderful application by Authodesk Homestyler that I found using Stumbleupon. It seems like it could prove useful for those wanting to design their dream home or visualize a remodel
While it takes a little while to figure out how to use all the tools there are a lot of exceptional things you can do. Here’s a few screen shots of untitled works from their inspiration gallery.