In this online video from TED, Huntsville, Texas builder Dan Phillips shares his humor and insight around building and designing houses with reclaimed material. His goal: to build sustainable and affordable houses for people who could not otherwise afford them, all while diverting 70-80% of the material from the landfill. Commenting on his custom, two person bathtub,”After all, it’s not just a question of hygiene, but there’s also a possibility of recreation.” LOL.
The big idea I picked up from Dan’s talk was around Apperception and the Apollonian and Dionysian dichotomy. After you’ve read those links (as I had to) it’s easy to understand Phillips’ assertion that we build mass-production products and industry around easily recognizable patterns. The problem is that this often creates little lasting value, and a culture and process of waste. As an example, in a traditional building with a row of identical windows it would be normal to remove a cracked window and replace it, even if it continued to function properly. Another option is to take a little hammer and crack all the other windows, then we have a recognizable pattern – it’s all psychology. Dan’s work features these imperfections and anomalies, highlighting their uniqueness and intrinsic beauty as part of the overall design.
For his down to earth wisdom, humor, and practicality in design and reclamation, Dan gets my SustainHillbillity seal of approval.