Sleek house built with old car parts

Salvaged roofs become siding and windows become awnings in the hands of 'green' architects, who have also used car parts on other projects.

By Teresa at MSN Real Estate Jan 3, 2012 1:58PM

Architects Cate Leger and Karl Wanaselja believe in green design and finding new uses for old materials.


So when they built their own house in Berkeley, Calif., they came up with an innovative reuse idea: The siding of the upper story of their home is made from 100 salvaged car roofs. The awnings are made of Dodge Caravan windows.


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"The hardest part was picking the cars, because cars that end up in junkyards are in pretty bad shape usually, so not only was I selecting on condition, no dents, as few nicks as possible and paint not coming off in sheets," Wanaselja said in a video at Fair Companies.


The finished product looks anything but junky. Wanaselja searched the car graveyards for roofs in shades of gray and silver, which he had cut into varying rectangular shapes to create the siding. "I was inspired by fish scales," he said.


Courtesy of FairCompanies.comFinding the Dodge Caravan windows was easier than finding the roofs, he added.

The 1,140-square foot house also included other repurposed materials and was built in a passive solar style, with large windows on the south and west. Walls are plaster rather than wallboard for better insulation, and the floors are concrete. The house cost about the same amount to build as other homes in the neighborhood, not counting Wanaselja's free labor scouting out the car parts.

A shed on the narrow urban lot is made from car trunks and other parts, and the architectural office shared by the two is made from an old shipping container.

Wanaselja has long been fascinated by automobiles – his parents raced cars -- and Leger Wanaselja Architecture has used recycled car parts in other projects, including a condo project in Berkeley. Those buildings include glass rear hatches of Mazda RX-7s as stair railings, windows from Volkswagen Karmann Ghias as bathroom shelves and Porsche 924 hatches as awnings. Old street signs became siding, outdoor lights, stair railings, eaves and fences.


Leger told Dwell: “It’s a way of expressing our values and an outlet for our creative channels.” 

Mar 7, 2012 11:45AM

not cost effective really and not practical. but A+ for creativity and effort. the most overlooked green initiative around is mother nature. orientate with the right exposures and overhangs and you got free heat.


i was goofing around with scraps, encased soapstone in a small box with plexiglass front and aluminum vent pipe background painted black. cut holes in top and bottom for airflow(otherwise silicone sealed), heat rises. measured temp coming out the top .... 137 degrees. was set in south window inside my home.

Jan 4, 2012 9:13AM
This is really weird.  I just built a car with old house parts?
Jan 4, 2012 8:50AM
The article says "roof" not hood.  Hoods would be expensive, but roofs have no value other than scrap.
Jan 4, 2012 8:13AM
I thought I'd seen it all, now this is the most creative, practical way I've seen to use car parts. It looks cooler than I thought it would when I read the headline. I'd rather see the materials being used this way than sitting, rusting in a junk yard and taking up usable land space. Way to go!
Jan 4, 2012 7:26AM
Jan 4, 2012 6:12AM
Great creativity however, steel is the most  recycled material in the world and put to more practical uses. I think it is cool but not a very strong conservation statement.
Jan 4, 2012 5:59AM
Completely impractical....most salvage yards will charge at least $100 for a hood, so the cost would be astronomical.  Plus, once the hoods are cut, how do you protect the raw metal edges from rust?  Fancy results but not repeatable.
Jan 4, 2012 2:13AM
Hopefully no recalls.  Nice work, great patience.
Jan 3, 2012 11:38PM
Very cool and inovative!! Not too mention so much better for  the enviorment. ITs probably not super cost effective but perhaps recyclers will take note and help create a new market for used vehicle parts!! Any way cool and great job!!
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