Austin's Cathedral of Junk Rises from the Ruins (Video)

Cathedral of JunkVimeo/Video screen capture

'Twas a sad, sad day in Texas when in 2010, Austin city administrators demanded the dismantling of Vince Hannemenn's ode to detritus, the Cathedral of Junk, as Lloyd wrote about at the time. Known as the Junk King, the eight letters of which are permanently inked across his knuckles à la 'love' and 'hate,' Hannemenn spent more than two decades collecting other's unloved and unwanted dross and debris to shape the construction. Saved from the dump, the cast-offs found new life, both minimizing landfill mass and negating the need for new construction materials.

The result, an ever-growing jumble of walls, halls, and spires fastened together into some kind of exquisite hoarder's heavenly 3-D horror vacui. Within the tangled towers are stories, memories, and juxtapositions of junk that are beautiful and completely nostalgia arousing. Like many of the other beloved folk-artist architected buildings in the country - Watts Towers, the Garden of Eden, The Orange Show, to name just a few - the Cathedral of Junk was a legacy to unconventional spirit and singular vision that is all too rare in the cookie-cutter culture that generally prevails.

Cathedral of JunkVimeo/Video screen capture

But the tragedy of tearing down the Cathedral has an unexpected and lovely sequel. After securing an engineer to procure the required permits, Hennemenn was able to begin reconstruction. Over the course of many months, hundred of volunteers came to the rescue, helping to once again raise the temple of trash. The following short film, directed by Evan Burns, tells the story.

The Junk King from Evan Burns on Vimeo.

Tags: Architecture | Arts | Austin | Recycling | Reusability | Waste


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