The House that Kevin Built 2012 The Brighton Waste House

Waste House shortlisted for Stephen Lawrence Prize.

4 September 2015

The University of Brighton’s Waste House, Europe’s first permanent building made almost entirely from rubbish, has been shortlisted for the 2015 Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stephen Lawrence Prize.

The award, funded by the Marco Goldschmied Foundation, was set up in memory of the teenager who was on the way to becoming an architect when he was murdered in 1993

The prize, which rewards the best examples of projects that have a construction budget of less than £1m, is intended to encourage fresh talent working with smaller budgets.

The Waste House, opened last year in the grounds of the university’s campus in Grand Parade, Brighton, was a collaborative project constructed by over 365 design and construction students using nearly 90 per cent of material that otherwise would have been thrown away.

Materials included old toothbrushes, carpet tiles, denim jeans, cycle inner tubes, video tapes, and DVDs as well as discarded bricks and wood. Design students from the university, as well as construction students from City College Brighton & Hove, were joined by apprentices from The Mears Group to construct this unique thought provoking and influential project.

Duncan Baker-Brown, university Senior Lecturer and the Waste House architect, said: “The shortlisting for such a prestigious national award alone is a tremendous accolade and one that recognises the hard work and dedication that has gone into the project by a great many volunteers, staff, students, partners and supporters.

“It highlights how low-carbon homes can be built in a cost-effective way using waste, including surplus material from building sites – the construction industry discards 20 per cent of everything it uses, the equivalent of scrapping one in five houses built. The building which houses the university’s MA in Sustainable Design, is a ‘live’ research project in itself and welcomes community groups.

Duncan Baker-Brown said the building literally locks in waste rather having it burnt, buried into landfill sites or dumped in the ocean.

He said: “The house has attracted huge interest nationally and globally and I am sure lessons learned from the project can be adopted by the construction industry to reduce waste, cut carbon emissions and to help combat global warming.

“Reusing waste saves money for big business as well as small, and it relieves pressure on our planet. There really is no such thing as waste or surplus material – it is just stuff in the wrong place – and reusing it saves the environment by reducing the need to mine so much raw material in the first place.”

The Waste House already has collected several awards including a RIBA South East Regional Award design honour and RIBA’s sustainability award in 2014. The winner of the Stephen Lawrence award will be announced on 15 October at RIBA’s London headquarters.

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