A House Made Entirely From Recycled Paper

By Nick Venable | 8 years ago

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Nobody in the world is living in a literal house of blues, of cards, or of the rising sun. There are probably a few houses of horrors out there, as in Buffalo Bill’s home in Silence of the Lambs, but there’s only one office out there that could actually be made from Thomas Harris’ novel itself.

Berlin architects Ben and Daniel Dratz recently built the “Paper House,” a workspace created entirely from bales of recycled paper culled from local supermarkets. The brothers’ project was funded by a $200,000 grant rewarded to them by Essen’s Zollverein School of Management and Design. The 2,045 square-foot building was comprised of 550 paper bales, and though it was only meant to be a temporary project that tested the the bales’ integrity as building blocks, the brothers are keeping the building up to see how long it can stay up.

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Daniel describes their inspirations:

Rather unexpectedly, we passed by a recycling station and saw these bales of used paper. We were fascinated by the structural variety and by the fragments of compressed information – like traces of society. Later we discovered that these bales could be layered and stacked to form monolithic walls, and we recognized the potential for architectural projects.

For those cynical folks thinking, “Yeah, but it’d never survive a good rain,” it already has made it through several. The brothers call the untreated bales’ a “lamellar barrier,” and the outer areas facing the worst of the rains were able to dry out quickly, and allowed almost no moisture into the structure.

Somehow, I don’t think this would have the same heartwarming smell as a library or old bookstore, but there’s something incredibly cozy about living between the pages like this, and all while serving an ecological purpose. I’d say just put some Plexiglass on the outside of it and show me where to sign on the lease.

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