Built for Speed: Habitat Raises an Upcycled Structure in 48 Hours

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Last fall, Earth911 told you about an innovative competition that challenged designers to conceive a small, unique and transportable structure with reused materials at the core, from concept to construction. More than 65 designers from around the world answered the call – submitting layouts for dwellings, studios and gathering spaces made from reclaimed materials.

The nine finalists in the Respace design competition, organized in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Wake County, AIA of the Triangle and Architecture for Humanity: Raleigh, were the talk of SPARKcon 2012 and garnered loads of attention in the green sphere.

Earlier this year, the grand prize winner’s design was constructed in a jaw-dropping 48-hour build-a-thon, overseen by Habitat for Humanity of Wake County – which serves Raleigh, NC and surrounding neighborhoods. Scroll through to get an up-close look at the marathon construction process and see how far reused materials can truly go.

Photo: Respace Competition

Photo: Respace Competition

The winning design

Called “Light Wall,” the winning design is a prism of salvaged materials that transforms light. Once inside, visitors encounter a space tucked behind a wall, where light filters in through hundreds of multicolored glass bottles and bathes the space in colored light.

Designed by Scott Hefner and Abe Drechsler, two juniors from the North Carolina State University College of Design in Raleigh, NC, the structure is meant as an outdoor public lounging space and art installation.

“This ‘Light Wall’ showcases the concept that reused materials can be very beautiful architectural elements,” the winners wrote in their design layout.

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In a mere 48 hours, Hefner and Drechsler’s design came to life in the Wake County Habitat for Humanity ReStore, with the help of a professional build team and hundreds of volunteers. Scroll through to see how they did it and peep more photos of this amazing upcycled structure.

Mary Mazzoni

Based in the Phoenix metro area, Mary is a lifelong vegetarian and enjoys outdoor activities like hiking, biking and relaxing in the park. When she’s not outside, she’s probably watching baseball. She is a former assistant editor for Earth911.