Recycled Pallets are the New Architecture

pallet house photo

Image from Ahmad Humeid,Salua Qidan

Recycled pallets, or skids, are becoming the basis for a whole new genre of architecture. And for good reason: they are sustainable, recycled, and make use of discarded packaging. The recently built pop-up Jellyfish Theatre in London, is made of old materials including 800 market pallets.

But everyone is doing it. This family home in Amman Jordan was designed with the outer wall made of industrial pallets. The architects wanted to create a "palette aesthetic" which would be environmental as well as good looking. Considering that Amman has cold winter days with clear blue skies, Ahmad Humeid and Salua Qidan wanted to have a glass facade facing south-west to gain heat from the sun. But it had to be shaded in the summer, and for this they came up with the inspiration for a wooden facade made of discarded wooden pallets. They thought that the old ones were too harsh and brutal, so had carpenters reconstruct new ones out of the recycled wood from the old ones. It's practical and it works, but it is unique. As Humeid says "Good thing that it's tucked away out of sight at the end of a small cul-de-sac street."

ribbon stage photo

Image from footprints

This modern looking outdoor theatre stage was developed at the WOMAD festival in the UK. Designed and built as part of a Roots Architecture workshop, it is made out of pallets from the area along with a triangular truss system. At the end of the festival, the stage was disassembled back into ordinary timber pieces; ready for their next transformation.

i beam photo

Image from i-beamdesign

This shelter was designed for refugees in Kosovo, back in 2006. Now it is being developed by i-beam design for use as inexpensive and efficient low-cost housing not only for people displaced by natural disasters but also as a solution for affordable pre-fab housing. In most cases in a disaster relief effort, many of the pallets will arrive as part of the transportation of food and materials; so the basic materials are there already. The shelters can be built by hand at a rate of 500-600 pallets per day. One transitional shelter measuring 10' x 20' would take 80 pallets to build and cost approximately $500.

More on Pallet Architecture
Pallets for People
Jellyfish Theatre is Junkitechture
Pallet Housing: Refugee Housing

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