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In cities around the world, people have discovered some great potential in everyday items which normally make their way to the junkyard.
Thanks to these innovators, enormous shipping containers, used bottles, picture frames, and even cork pieces have found new life as the building blocks for homes, office spaces, and other structures.
Here's a look at some places which have us reexamining the potential in the way buildings are constructed.
Above, the folks over at Urban Space Management in London are responsible for re-purposing old shipping containers into classrooms, office spaces, and youth centers.
The structures are modular in design and environmentally friendly with about 80 percent of the building is made from recycled materials.
Photo (cc) by Flickr user Fin Fahey
The designers of OceanScope in Incheon City, South Korea, have constructed a superb observatory deck using the port city's unused shipping containers.
The deck, which can be leaned at various angles, allows viewers to view the sunset from a variety of viewpoints. It's an architectural wonder which combines chic design and sustainability.
Photo Arch Daily
Building a home made from recycled materials suddenly seems all the more possible, thanks to Dan Phillips and his company, Phoenix Commotions. For a little more than a decade, Phillips has been helping low-income families construct affordable housing built entirely from recycled materials. Hundreds of old picture frames form geometrical ceiling patterns, and wine corks serve as flooring.
The homes are also energy efficient and local companies drop off leftover materials and scrap at a warehouse for the company to later use. Though there are no definite statistics, the company estimates that at least 10 percent of the waste in landfills is usable for building.
Photo by Michael Stravato for The New York Times.
Situated in the ghost town of Calico, California, is an old house built entirely from thousands of glass bottles. Trees are scarce in the area and the bottles were reportedly taken from the old local bars. The house bottle concept was a popular one, especially since lumber was a luxury and the salons got first dibs on it.
Photo (cc) by Flickr user Tech109
More than 6 million bottles collected over the course of 19 years have resulted in this: a house built entirely from old beer bottles in Quilmes, Argentina.
Though bottles are usually recycled in Argentina, Tito Ingenieri created his home by taking abandoned and non-returnable bottles from the streets. Neighbors regularly collect bottles for him and he said he is willing to teach others how to build a similar home.
A family in Puerto Iguazu has found yet another way to build a home: using only plastic bottles.
Alfredo Santa Cruz and his family designed and built the house to illustrate the hidden potential in everyday household items.
Photo via Treehugger