• The Patience of Good Ideas

    By Scott Boylston Emergent Structure’s second post declared, “…Pastor Johnnie Powers is what the Emergent Structures Project is about.” Discussions on social innovation center around uncorking the tacit knowledge of communities, and tapping into the creative power that exists within the basic building blocks of informal human interaction. Mr. Powers is surely unique, but he is […]

  • How Little our Eyes Permit Us to See

    “While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.” ~Dorothea Lange Pimprae Hiranprueck, a photography student at SCAD, recently accompanied a team that has […]

  • Faith Without Works is Dead: Hunting for Solutions

    By Summer Constantino Armed with a growing knowledge of reclaimed materials, and with fierce determination, my partner in a winter quarter Sustainable Practices in Design class at SCAD, Katie Coulburn, and I decided to design a meaningful method of including heartpine from the old buildings at Savannah Gardens into the redevelopment of new homes on […]

  • Revealing the Hidden Connections: Housing Projects & Historic Forests

    By Summer Constantino A condemned housing project is the last place you’d want to go hunting for treasure, literally or figuratively. Or is it? Entering dilapidated buildings is not for the faint of heart. Ghosts seem to be behind every corner and the visual reality is best described as “hopelessly depressing”. But if you can […]

  • The Death of a House

    By Adrian Perez The house is alive as long as it is inhabited. It breathes, sees, digests, listens, talks, it ages, and it dies. Upon its death, it must be disposed of or it will slowly decompose. Like a corpse, it must be buried or it will decay before the public eye; this type of dead space is considered the gangrene of the urban body. Like a […]

  • Designing for Social Innovation

    By Scott Boylston The national IxDA conference in Savannah, Georgia brought a great many things to town, but nothing was quite as exciting as having Ezio Manzini here. Invited as a keynote speaker for the event, Ezio also took the time to give an engaging talk at SCAD’s Gulfstream Center on the role of design […]

  • Mapping Optimism

    “I have cast my lot with those, who, age after age, perversely, with no extraordinary power, reconstitute the world.” —Adrienne Rich By Scott Boylston What on Earth are we doing? Is it OK to ask that?  Does the common wisdom of the day monopolize insight into what can and cannot be done in this world, […]

  • We’re happy to be invited by the Pine Gardens Neighborhood Association to talk about the Emergent Structures Project, and how our building-material reclamation project at Strathmore Estates can bring community together. Monday, January 18th, 2010 The meeting will be held at the Riverside Baptist Church social hall at 2310 Causton Bluff Rd. We start at […]

  • The Decade of What’s Next

    By Kathleen Fritz This decade has already been memorialized on talk shows and blogs with the populous not knowing what to call it. Some are playing number games like “The Aughts” or “The Y2K’s”, but others are looking into what this first decade of the new millennium actually meant. Some are suggesting the “Post 9/11 […]

  • The Complexity of Layers

    By Scott Boylston Faux clapboard siding made from PVC…on top of asbestos panels…on top of cedar shingles…on top of heartpine studs. These physical layers tell us something of a building’s past. But while they are similar to the growth rings of a tree in their documentation of past conditions— and while something of the technological […]

  • Material/Immaterial

    By Scott Boylston / Photos by Kathy Fritz There’s a lot of lumber at Savannah Gardens; old, beautiful heartpine, the quality of which we rarely see in nature anymore. And one of Emergent Structures’ goals is to extend its utility, in part, so that other trees do not suffer a similar fate. But when we […]

  • School House Rock…and roll?

    “It is the spirit of the child that can determine the course of human progress and lead it perhaps even to a higher form of civilization.”  — Maria Montessori By Scott Boylston Re-using an old building (and installing efficiency retro-fits) can be more sustainable than building a new one, and that’s true even if it […]

  • Go, Green Girls, Go!

    By Scott Boylston I am a Girl Scout. I’m not just a believer; not just a supporter; not just willing to do anything I can to make sure that the Girls Scouts get all the reclaimed materials they need to build their eco-village on the magnificent island of Rose Dhu; I am one of them, […]

  • Building/Community

    By Scott Boylston The Emergent Structures Project is about sustainability, and for many people that means it’s about material reclamation, and little else. But, of course it’s about much more. It’s about people,  communities, commonalities, and collaboration. The house above was built with brick from demolition sites around West Savannah, starting in 1964.The large-scale demolition […]

  • Harvest One: Giving it a Test Run

    By Scott Boylston We’ve started small to work out the bugs, but the results were inspiring. Thank you to the many, many volunteers who helped with the dismantling process, and congratulations to the Pioneer Harvesters. For this particular event, only non-structural elements were accessible for reclamation; shelves, cabinets, interior doors, loose lumber, etc. We are […]