The Junk House – Upcycling Local Trash

Villa Welpeloo is a residence designed by the Dutch firm 2012Architecten. The firm aspired to use as much surplus and waste materials as possible. Scouts employed by the designers have (re)searched the possibilities and availability of materials in the vicinity of the construction site during the design phase. Based on the findings there was a continuous stream of new incentives to develop the design further. The found materials resulted in new shapes and new ways of construction.

Villa Welpeloo 01

Welpeloo Paternoster 01Materials

Using a combination of Google Maps and local contacts, the designers and clients scoured areas within a few square miles to find scrapyards, unofficial junk piles, strange surplus trash and more. New shapes and innovative construction methods were needed to incorporate the found materials.

The main load bearing structure is made out of steel beams from a paternoster,  a machine formerly in use for textile production, an industry once very important in the region. One of these machines gave up enough steel to construct the whole villa.

Cable Reel Welpeloo

The main facades are built with wood harvested from the inner parts of damaged cable reels. The damaged reels are normally used for the production of particleboard or are utilized for burning.

A factory near to the construction site which produces cables, had large numbers of redundant cable reels available, too damaged for further original use.

The wooden slats which make up the core of these reels are generally undamaged and of a standard size. These slats, collected from a thousand reels, provided enough material for the whole  facade of the construction.

The finished house is mostly made up of recycled material, each element analyzed and then fit into an evolving layout. This is not to say that the feel and look of the home is secondary, it simply means that it grew out of what was at hand rather than an overarching objective design idea.

Villa Welpeloo 02

The house does not take on the ‘trash chic’ look of its materials, instead it is sporting a fresh and contemporary appearance. While this method of design and construction has significantly lowered transportation and construction costs as well as environmental impact.

Villa Welpeloo 01 Villa Welpeloo 02 Villa Welpeloo 03 Villa Welpeloo 04


Villa Welpeloo 05 Villa Welpeloo 06 Villa Welpeloo 07 Villa welpeloo 08 – It’s really you

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