Reducing construction waste, and, in this case, discarded parts from temporary exhibitions is both a goal and reality of the aftermath of each show at the School of Architecture Gallery.
Unfortunately, Thomas Chase, in preparation for his guest column (“Throwing away the Green House and sustainability,” Oct. 27) did not take the time to contact me, my colleagues or other students at the School of Architecture to check his facts. While parts of the National Building Museum’s “Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture” did make their way into a dumpster behind Paul Rudolph Hall, his story is inaccurate, ill-informed and unfair on several fronts.
This exhibition is unique in that most of its display support structure was made of recycled, reclaimed or rapidly renewable materials, such as wheat board, sunflower seed board and laminated bamboo and was not discarded in its entirety as Chase’s punch-line expounds. What he saw in a dumpster were parts of the exhibition structure that will not be used at its next and final venue after a successful two year traveling schedule. In addition, his claim that an extra dumpster was ordered for this disposal is erroneous.
What was inevitably discarded into a regular bin were parts of bamboo stands and wood crates which could not be re-used by Yale students and faculty who had been offered these pieces before the show closed. While we always recycle discarded steel, to the best of my knowledge, there is no wood recycling facility in our area, so reuse or hauling to a landfill are unfortunately our only options.
A significant portion of the materials, however, will be reused. One graduate student will be making a desk out of the laminated bamboo; others have retrieved material for future projects and the Gallery is still holding on to usable bamboo. Although the wheat board and sunflower seed boards are notoriously difficult to work with, they are designed to be reclaimed into nature’s potpourri of biodegradability.
Finally, as a result of our show, much of the exhibit will remain for years to come. The New Haven Housing Authority will display the four large actual wall assemblies and solar panel sample from the Green House exhibit indefinitely in its Audubon Street office.
The writer is Director of Exhibitions at and a 1998 graduate of the School of Architecture.