Posted by: theoriginalmiss | November 4, 2012

Windows of Sustainability

Windows of Sustainability

This is an artwork I did through Imaging the Land International Research Initiative (ILIRI) in collaboration with fellow artist Belinda Chiu and civil engineer, Orson Thien, in response to a brief requiring the reuse of waste from the waste stream. Our pipe structure is an example of how, by thinking creatively and using knowledge from different disciplines, waste can be re-used in the construction of a sustainable building.

Our idea was inspired by “A Forest for a Moon Dazzler”: a house in Guanacaste, Costa Rica designed by architect Benjamin Garcia Saxe for his mother, that we saw in Vitamin Green by Phaidon Press. Garcia Saxe’s house features walls made of 4,000 pieces of threaded bamboo in order to naturally shade and ventilate it. We took this idea further.

Using discarded electrical and plumbing pipes from the tip in Broken Hill, we designed the pipes to swivel on a wire axis to open and close, as you can see below, according to the level of light and/or ventilation required. We deemed this necessary since the desert climate of Fowlers Gap is not as benign as that of Costa Rica and the ventilation would certainly need to be closed off during the colder months of the year. We imagine this pipe formation could perform as an external window, skylight, ventilation or light shaft, and not necessarily as an entire wall as did Garcia Saxe’s bamboo. Another interesting application could be as an internal partition, room divider or privacy screen.

The green bricks (like the example we have here) present another example of how to use the myriad pipes discarded into the waste stream and give them a second life in sustainable construction. We made them by cutting and wiring together, in this case 6, short lengths of plumbing pipe, also sourced from the tip at Broken Hill. Once wired together, the pipe bricks were filled with local soil and the plants chosen for their suitability to the particular local environment. We were advised that “Pigface” was a perfect plant for this project in the Fowlers Gap area, although we also experimented with other species. Drip lines need to be used running vertically into the pipes in order to water the plants. The stones that made up the dry stonewall were sourced locally in Fowlers Gap.



  1. That’s great Paula:: beautiful, functional and recycled!

    • Thanks Bridge. One of my first forays into collaborative and sustainable art that has a function!

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