Big Dig House

Lexington, MA | 2006
[AIA/BSA Housing Design Award, Metropolis Magazine Feature, Boston Globe Arts Feature, CNN Money Feature]





As a prototype building that demonstrates how infrastructural refuse can be salvaged and reused, the structural system for this house is comprised of steel and concrete discarded from Boston’s Big Dig utilizing over 600,000 lbs of salvaged materials from elevated portions of the dismantled I-93 highway. Planning the reassembly of the materials in as if it were a pre-fab system, subtle spatial arrangements are created. These materials however are capable of carrying much higher loads than standard structure, easily allowing the integration of large scale roof gardens. Most importantly, the project demonstrates an untapped potential for the public realm: with strategic front-end planning, much needed community programs including schools, libraries, and housing could be constructed whenever infrastructure is deconstructed, saving valuable resources, embodied energy, and taxpayer dollars.

bigdighouse_inverset-load bigdighouse_materials


Within 2 days, the house is framed: reusing steel structure and roadway panels from the big dig has sped up this phase of construction from 2 weeks to 12 hours.



To minimize fabrication time and expense, the structural pieces were reused as-is.
bigdighouse_sequence4-small bigdighouse_section


construction sequence (left) and section through living and roof garden (right).

Salvaged structural materials are left raw (left).  The roof garden connects to the living room and utilizes harvested rainwater (right).
Window walls in conjunction with double height spaces bring natural light deep in the space while exterior overhangs shade summer sun.




John Hong AIA /LEED, Jinhee Park AIA (principals in charge), Erik Carlson, Sadmir Ovcina, Chris Minor
structural design & construction
Paul Pedini, Jay Cashman, Inc.
structural engineer
Weidlinger Associates, Inc.
water management design
Cristina Perez-Pedini
valentine house
coulter house
big dig building
verdant studios
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