Recently, 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.
On 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?
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!
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
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!
After our discussion with RDG, I have been contemplating the importance of exterior facades. Considering people often walk down the street at 3-5 mph, the challenge in both architecture and urban planning for years has been designing an interesting streetscape that engages our senses at that speed. I began by collecting images of spaces from my experience that I believed are successful at doing this very thing.
Savannah, GA Riverwalk
Georgetown, Washington D.C.
Solana Beach, CA- Cedros Avenue Arts District
Athens, Greece Plaka Neighborhood
Commonalities between all these streets are that they are attractions within themselves and have some sort of historical significance, have clear indicators for their functions and entrances, are walkable due to pedestrian coverage (trees and boarders), and lastly allow for some seating. Along those lines, corridors like Broadway, Bourbon Street, Michigan Ave, and Hollywood Boulevard could be added to the list.
Still, the question arises, how do you extract the successful qualities from these spaces into your own without making a cliche. How do these applications further apply within a place like Las Vegas which is known for imitating famous spaces?
In regards to our own project, to make the street more inviting, we’ve added comfortable benches with backs on curb extensions, facing toward the buildings (as opposed to the street) and anchored them with planters to provide a sense of place and community. On a nice day, people rest, converse or read a book. People of all ages are engaged. We’ve also both minimized the column grid and raised the shading structure up to 12 feet to open the building up more visually to the street. Lastly, we have positioned our most active programs toward the perimeter of the building (with glass walls) so to encourage movement into the space. Collectively, we hope that efforts like these will create an active and engaging neighborhood that will attract more people and enhance economic and social sustainability.
Saw this on Fb the other day, courtesy of the Christianity page and whether or not you believe the story is true it does make you think twice about how you choose to conduct your self on a day to day basis.
Here it goes:
Pastor Jeremiah Steepek (pictured below) transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the 10,000 member church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service, only 3 people out of the 7-10,000 people said hello to him. He asked people for change to buy food – NO ONE in the church gave him change. He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was asked by the ushers if he would please sit n the back. He greeted people to be greeted back with stares and dirty looks, with people looking down on him and judging him.As he sat in the back of the church, he listened to the church announcements and such. When all that was done, the elders went up and were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation. “We would like to introduce to you Pastor Jeremiah Steepek.” The congregation looked around clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle. The clapping stopped with ALL eyes on him. He walked up the altar and took the microphone from the elders (who were in on this) and paused for a moment then he recited,
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
‘The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
After he recited this, he looked towards the congregation and told them all what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and many heads were bowed in shame. He then said, “Today I see a gathering of people, not a church of Jesus Christ. The world has enough people, but not enough disciples. When will YOU decide to become disciples?”
He then dismissed service until next week.
Being a Christian is more than something you claim. It’s something you live by and share with others.