We have a plastic waste crisis. Our waste is concealed in bins, taken out to back lanes, buried at the landfill or shipped overseas. We have become increasingly expert at physically distancing ourselves from our waste. Spaces for waste are not for humans. Waste is invisible to us. Plastic Metabolism in a Garbage Apocalypse operates within a fictional, yet plausible, garbage strike. This strike brings the global waste crisis home, registering it at the scale of a household. How do we cope? Our perceptions must shift if we are to escape the constricting infill of waste in our previously pristine domestic realms. We must see waste as a raw material.

This project proposes a new system of construction, operating on the existing body of the Vancouver Special, a locally specific and common housing typology. Domestic spatial relationships are re-imagined, establishing an intimate relationship between the human body and waste material and processes. Using a playful and optimistic perspective, Plastic Metabolism in a Garbage Apocalypse allows the messy and uglier sides of human life to support a productive domestic environment.

Rather than shipping our waste away, a circular waste system allows recycling and reuse processes to occur at a more intimate scale within and near domestic households. Waste is collected, cleaned, shredded, sorted, stored, and transformed into architecture through a rotational moulding fabrication technique before being brought back to the house to occupy.

Our waste material never truly goes away, it occupies space somewhere else in the world. A fictional garbage strike exposes our material habits and imposes an urgent need for imaginative responses that imbue waste with new value.

Six interventions (Bladder, Mouth, Stomach, Lung, Fat, and Child) are introduced to the existing body of the Vancouver Special. Each plastic pod demonstrates waste material as raw material and the potential to develop through waste. The pods allow waste processes to be easily accommodated in the house and alongside human activities. The pods function in a blurry zone between an organ and a prosthetic. Similar to the human body, where each organ performs a particular function, each intervention supports waste material processing in the house.

John Bass
Roy Cloutier
Blair Satterfield [CHAIR]
Christopher Underwood