Architecture students design recycling bins for Hale Hall

December 13, 2012

William Willoughby, associate dean of Liberal Arts, and Damon Caldwell, assistant professor of architecture, critique the designs of the planned recycling bins. - Photo by Derek J. Amaya


Staff Reporter


It was a dark, stormy night, lightning struck and thunder roared as a group of seven huddled in the west wing of Hale Hall.


Students who are members of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) conducted a charrette to design a paper-recycling bin.


A charrette is a design project that is given within hours or minutes of presentation, requiring an intense period of design activity.


The final design was presented by architecture students Weston Wink, senior, and Laura Hunt Miller, junior, and was critiqued by five jurors.


The jury was composed of five university faculty members: William Willoughby, Damon Caldwell, Karl Puljak, Robert Brooks and Brad Deal. Each juror assessed the design concept and gave insight on how the bin could be improved.


Wink and Miller’s design was a three-foot-tall shelf with slots on one side for students to place large pieces of cardboard or chipboard to be reused among students and an opening for a trash bag to throw away smaller scraps that cannot be reused.


“We wanted something that people could come to and reuse from,” Miller said. “We had to make it cheap and easy to build.”


“We had to do something that was open-ended and flexible in designing, similar to the shelving ideal used in art.”


To reduce costs, Wink said they are going to make the bin out of plywood and steel rods.


They will use plywood that is half an inch to three-quarters of an inch thick to create the eight shelves that will be open slots for the reusable material.


“You have to think of it as a psychological approach, like how do you get someone to go to the recycling bin when their first instinct is to go to a trash can,” Wink said.


Though their overall design concept was deemed good, they got a lot of improvement ideas from the jurors. One suggested improvement was to remove the shelving they had surrounding the trash bag opening and make it a free flowing opening with an attachment at the top for the bag to be able to hold straps of different sizes.


This recommendation was made to make it easier for the bag to be removed from the bin without tearing as it is being pulled through the opening. Another idea given was to create the side opening as a clamp that attaches to a trash can, making it easier for people to choose recycling over trashing when the choice is right in front of them.


In addition, one idea was to place a back cover to the shelf. The back cover would help to keep things from falling behind the self and to create an area for students to sit large pieces of chipboard or cardboard beside the shelf.


Though it was a gloomy, rainy night, the charrette went well with professors applauding Wink and Miller for their design concept and Kevin Singh for hosting.


“Dr. Singh’s idea to have a charrette with USGBC students for a recycling bin was a great idea,” Caldwell said.


The bin will be placed on the third floor of Hale Hall and maintained by USBGC. This is a concept that Wink and Miller would like to see throughout campus for different departments to promote recycling among students.


Email comments to kms042@latech.edu.


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