Imagine a factory-on-wheels, the size of two shipping containers. Deposit concrete rubble in one end and new concrete Lego-shaped building blocks come out the other end. This cheap, convenient way to convert deadly debris into homes and hospitals is the brain-child of Gerard Steijn, 71, who leads a Netherlands-based project to recycle rubble from wars and disasters. "In disasters, you have piles and piles of rubble," he says. "If you're rich, you buy more bricks and rebuild your home." But what if you're poor?
Photo by The Mobile Factory
The best part of The Mobile Factory is that it produces concrete blocks shaped like Legos. They fit together in standardized geometry without cement or mortar, allowing the home to flex under stress. Unskilled people can build homes with the blocks which meet demanding Dutch construction standards and will last many years. Steijn has launched an Indeigogo crowdfunding campaign to raise $400,000 to build the first rubble community of 20 homes near Port au Prince, Haiti, next spring. Haiti has abundant rubble since a 2010 earthquake displaced 1.5 million people.