built by the book



from: CBC News, Tue, 09 Aug 2005 15:48:22 EDT

A house north of Halifax is being built by the book. Literally.

Architecture students at Dalhousie University are stacking about 7,000 phone books to build a one-room house.

Students call the house the Phone Booth.

“The phone book is something that everyone is familiar with,” said Richard Kroeker, the professor who came up with the idea as a final-year project for his students.

“There are thousands of them thrown out every year when the phone company comes and brings in a new phone book for the year. It occurred to me that they’re more or less a building block.”

Kroeker persuaded a recycling company to give him the books and the land to build the house.

The wood-framed building is about four by four metres, with the phone books held together with metal brackets. Eventually there will be windows made out of old bottles.

The total cost of building materials is around $2,000.

“You can’t teach someone to paint or draw without actually making them draw or paint,” said student Son Diep. “Same thing with architecture. You can’t teach someone architecture just by drawing or designing the model.”

Kroeker has no plans to try living in the house. But he does plan to check on it this winter to see how it stands up to the elements.

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Toon Verberg