Thursday, February 9, 2012

Drawing from Waste

Though our ad hoc way of going about things hasn't required too much forethought or precision (compared to the typical architect's standard), more time and materials lend themselves to more complex and elaborate systems. Jumping back into our familiar world of AutoCAD would be easy enough, but doesn't fit the spirit of the project or induce the kind of spontaneous ingenuity we strive for.

Charring small sticks in the fire, we create our new drafting tools. The canvas? Our very walls. What might be considered our version of the architect's detail drawing start to clutter the large uninterrupted wall of the living space. These are only mildly speculative, serving primarily to work through whatever task is at hand.

Having knocked down a few walls, we have an abundance of doors. Noticing they're almost exactly the same widths as the two front windows, we reapply them. They perform as the heavy tapestries of the olden days used to, closed to block out the cold at night but easily opened for daylight. They're also an essential establishment of privacy from nosy bureaucrats.

After three months without a toilet aside from the backyard and the Tops Supermarket down the street, it's about time to arrange something more convenient. We bury a 5 gallon plastic bucket upsidedown below the frost line outside. Scraps of PVC then run from this at an angle into the crawl space below our first floor and then up to receive connections for urinal and sink basins.

As temperatures in the house are quick to drop below freezing, using a water trap isn't an option. For a few extra dollars valves are used to block drafts of cold air and smells. In the future this system might develop to integrate gravity-fed water by stationing our water barrels upstairs and running more piping.

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