As a former Boston resident who lived just a few blocks from the urban infrastructure calamity known as the Central Artery/Tunnel Project (AKA the Big Dig), I know feelings about it run from heated to very heated to, well, livid. It’s an understatement to say the Big Dig makes the blood of many taxpaying Bostonians boil like a lobster pot. 

Although the $22 billion feat of engineering — the biggest public works project in American history — was for the most part finished in 2007 and finally alleviated congestion woes along I-93 after beginning construction in 1982, its infamy continues on with leaks, legal woes, corruption, motorist-killing ceiling collapses, and the non-completion of environmental mitigation projects. 

Has anything good come about since the completion of the Big Dig that isn’t less harrowing rush hour traffic? Here’s something: a 3,400 square-foot home in the Boston suburb of Lexington that’s constructed from 600,000 pounds of waste materials — namely steel and concrete salvaged from the project. The home has been kicking around since 2006 but now ArchDaily comes bearing the news — and pictures — that it has reached completion.

Single Speed Design’s Big Dig House is quite a looker, not quite what you’d expect from a dwelling crafted “as is” from crane-lifted portions of a dismantled elevated concrete highway. Building homes from salvaged construction materials isn't exactly a novel process (check out the Deconstruction & ReUse Network) but building a home from chunks of highway is nothing less than remarkable. 

Besides being built from an old eyesore of a roadway in a project described as “Junkyard Wars meets Habitat for Humanity,” the private residence features natural daylighting, rainwater harvesting, and a giant rooftop garden ... the remarkable size and weight of the garden is possible because of the super-strength industrial waste materials used to support it. 

I totally dig the Big Dig House. Can you?


Via [ArchDaily] and [Inhabitat]

Photos: Single Speed Design

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Can you dig it?
Check out the Big Dig House, a private residence named after and built from materials salvaged from the notorious highway megaproject.