Re-Tread

Re-tread

Tire-shingles and Tire Planters: A Detroit Community Greenbuilding Project Proposal

Tire Shingles

Why not match waste with need? That is, reworking illegally dumped tires to become a roof shingle system creates the opportunity to solve two problems at once: decaying housing stock in low-income, at-risk neighborhoods, and illegally dumped tires in those same neighborhoods. The end result will also be a local product that is high-performance, durable, and aesthetically appealing.

Home loans for costly home repairs are difficult to obtain in Detroit, where the housing values do not match costs – so banks will not loan money to replace a roof, for example. Therefore, people either repair their own roofs, or pay cash to have them patched or replaced. This project proposes a kind of “direct-action” vernacular approach, where residents can produce their own materials that they then can install themselves.

The shingles remain as a prototype and have yet to be tested and installed on a dwelling, although they were providing a cozy, dry shelter to some chickens (they had no complaints).

Tire Planters

Tire planters are a people’s art. Of unknown origin, they are made all over the world. What a poetic act it is to turn inside out a dangerous “waste,” making it into an oxygen and maybe even food-producing vessel. The goal of this project is to promote the propagation of these planters as an ecological-accessible art form, and to create wealth in a distressed urban community.

Car culture is still king in Detroit, “motor-city,” and the historic significance of the automobile industry is still very strong. These proposals seek to celebrate and critique car-culture, through aknowledging its darker sides.


Exhibitions: Cooper Hewitt National Design Museum, Knoxville Museum of Art, International Contemporary Furniture Fair, Cranbrook Art Museum, Marygrove College,.

Publications: Metropolitan Home Magazine, Inside Design Now (book), The American Statesman, Hour Detroit.

Location: Detroit

Design/Construction: Greg Vendena

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