Check out this Pallet House by I-Beam Design!
The Back Story:
The architectural team of Suzan Wines and Azin Valy had entered an International Competition for Temporary Refugee Shelters in Kosovo. They were brainstorming/sketching building material possibilities for their structure– searching for something modular, ubiquitous, recycled, recyclable, available around the world. Suzan stumbled upon the answer, “One night I was walking home and I thought– I have to find the solution by the time I get home… and I literally tripped over a wooden shipping pallet in the middle of the sidewalk–brought it back to the studio and that was that.”
They seem endless. Refugee housing can be constructed quickly and then made permanent and more comfortable by filling the voids between slats with gathered insulation material (mud, foam, cloth, etc) and cladding the surfaces with local practices (plaster, shingles). Or–closer to home–this technique is modern, attractive, saves money, and is green to boot. There are a few issues to be aware of when selecting pallets for reuse, so be sure to check out the links below.
Plans are available for the I-Beam design for a mere $75 US – Pallet House Construction Plans.
Want to Know More?
We sure did. It’s an inspiring idea and story from two very interesting and talented women. Here are two nice videos– one longer at 8:39 minutes featuring the architects, faircompanies.com, and another at 1:12 minutes, I-Beam Pallet House. Enjoy!
OK– just think of all the ladder and loft potential here…
What Can Go Wrong:
I did a little research regarding pallets. I started with an inquiry at Washington Toxics Coalition, one of my all time favorite resources. Here’s what I’ve found so far:
- Pallets can pick up contamination or bacteria during their travels so be cautious of oily, moldy, or excessively dirty wood. (food prep table, kid’s toys– no!). QA
- Pallets made for international shipping must be either heat treated (HT) or fumigated (methyl bromide, used infrequently). They will be stamped or branded with a mark of compliance (MB or HT). Wikipedia
What Can Go Right:
- Pallets made for domestic shipping are heat treated only and will bear an “HT” stamp. (No chemicals used) I’m looking for these! Grist.org
- Only a few percent of the pallets used for international shipping are treated with methyl bromide (MB).
- It’s best if you know where your pallets have been.
So, be an informed up-cycler – do your homework, check the stamps, and use for appropriate projects!