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    This is What We Mean: Our New Video on Building Material Re-Use

    Way back in 2009, we were invited to share our ideas with the team leading the redevelopment of what was then called Strathmore Estates. As our background page explains, this was a downtrodden neighborhood on Savannah’s East side comprised of WW2 era housing. And our organization was born through the innovative projects we co-developed on […]

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  • Reclaiming Savannah Gardens through Public Art (3)

    Last week, we caught you up on the background of the Savannah Gardens public art project, and from this point forward we’ll keep providing updates until the official unveiling this fall. In the above photograph, Jerome Meadows hold a check from Emergent Structures for $1,800. We’ve been so committed to this project, that we are […]

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  • Reclaiming Savannah Gardens through Public Art (part two)

    By Garrison Marr One of the unique aspects of the Savannah Gardens Public Art Project is that the concept from the outset has been that the piece should be consistent with the design ethos in the neighborhood: that it was environmentally responsible, aesthetically and socially engaging, and designed with community input. That same approach helped […]

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  • Reclaiming Savannah Gardens through Public Art (part one)

    By Scott Boylston At the very beginning of the Emergent Structures project in 2009, we shared a list of ideas about how to re-use the bulding materials we planned on reclaiming from the old housing units in Strathmore Estates: greenhouses, furniture, jewelry, park benches, tool sheds, on-site public art, and a whole lot more. The first […]

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  • Aging Gracefully, In Deed!

    By Scott Boylston Two years ago, in one of our very first material harvest events, over 80 people—volunteers, paid apprentices, and employees from TrussMart, NorSouth, Southern Pine Co., and Mercy Housing—convened at the Savannah Gardens redevelopment site to pull nails from reclaimed studs and tongue and groove roof sheathing. That material, and similar material prepared […]

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  • Window Cleaners Unite! (that means you volunteers)

    It’s that time again! Come on out to Savannah Tech this Thursday afternoon, or next…OR BOTH! Join us 5:30-7:30 to help prepare reclaimed window sash for the Design for Ability Greenhouse. They’re looking great so far, and we need your help to finish them up. Email scottb@emergentstructures.com for more info and to sign up!

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  • Where Angels Fear to Tread

    By Scott Boylston This window sash is old. It was installed the same year Frank Sinatra was exempted from military service due to a perforated ear drum and the doctor’s diagnosis that he was “neurotic,” and “not acceptable material from a psychiatric standpoint.” That would be 1943, in case you were wondering (although the FBI […]

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  • Build + Reclaim, All Before Lunch

    By Meagan Hodge Over the last couple of months, the Design for Ability greenhouse has continued to take form through many small actions. A multitude of volunteers, collaborators, sponsors—and even innocent by-standers who’ve been pulled into action—have brought their own personal stories to our journey.

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  • Installed, and ready for service!

    By Scott Boylston The Savannah Garden rain barrel stands are installed and doing their job! A year ago the studs that now hold up these rain barrels were in the walls of the old buildings on site. Thanks again goes to Charisse Bennett as the Emergent Structures project manager, and Garrison Marr, Director of Sustainability […]

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  • SUBMIT A PROPOSAL: Public Art at Savannah Gardens!

    By Scott Boylston | image courtesy of Thomas & Hutton We are immensely pleased to announce the City of Savannah is accepting proposals from qualified artists to design, produce, and install a public art piece in Savannah Gardens that is made, at least in part, of reclaimed materials!

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  • Savannah Gardens Rain Barrel Community Workshop!

    By Charisse Bennett On Saturday March 10th, all 19 rain barrel stands were assembled and painted by a wonderful group of volunteers ranging in age from 5 years old to 55+ (just a little guesstimate on my part). With tremendous help from Garrison Marr, Sustainable Development Coordinator for the City of Savannah and other intrepid […]

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  • A Peak at the Rain Barrel Stand Process

    By Charisse Bennett You can buy a table, or you can make a table from raw materials. Or you can do something in between, like buy a partially assembled table, and build it at home yourself. There’s often a great deal of satisfaction associated with constructing parts of a table yourself. You’re released from the […]

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  • Rain Barrel Stands for Savannah Gardens!

    By Charisse Bennett On March 10th, newly established Savannah Gardens residents will come together for one of their first community events in the new development’s history, and we’re happy to say that it will celebrate the site’s past by incorporating reclaimed materials into a community-based, sustainable design project!

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  • The Harvest that Keeps on Giving

    By Scott Boylston In a post from last August on Mercy Housing’s mixed-income redevelopment of Savannah Gardens, we showed you the flooring that was re-purposed from roof sheathing reclaimed from the old buildings on site, and denailed through the efforts of Emergent Structures. Brian Quigley, GC for NorSouth (the lead contractor for this EarthCraft redevelopment […]

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  • a solid foundation, in deed

    By Roger Bowman As a new member of the Emergent Structure board, my first “real” project came together with my love of ice cream…although it took Director Scott’s post for me to find out how the two were connected. I was one of the several volunteers who answered the ES call to de-mortar 500 bricks […]

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  • Mercy, That’s a Pretty Floor!

    By Scott Boylston If this floor could talk, what a story it could tell. Like a butterfly, it would tell stories, not only of its day-to-day existence, but of its dramatic transformation between 2 distinctly different lives it has lived. And like children in awe when they are first told that the weightless beauty of […]

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  • Bricks, Carbon, and Guilt-Free Ice Cream

    By Scott Boylston When confronted with abstract ideas or large numbers, most people prefer to be given concrete examples. This is especially true when it comes to matters of sustainability. Very few people, for instance, will remember that the creation of a large solar array can reduce CO2 emissions by 570 million pounds a year. […]

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  • Once a Stud, Always a Stud

    By Scott Boylston Six months ago, the studs that project manager Brian Quigley is marking with the Emergent Structures’ “reclaimed” stamp were still full of nails. Four months before that, they were still holding up roofs in the old buildings on the same site. And 4 months before that, we sat around with Brian of […]

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  • Hot Times with the Girl Scouts

    By Scott Boylston We have a whole lot of numbers to share with you about the amount of materials that we helped the Girl Scouts harvest over the weekend from a site otherwise scheduled for the landfill, but we’ll start here: Day One of the Girl Scouts Volunteer Building Material Harvest: 95º, one short of […]

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  • Been Busy: Initiative 4

    By Scott Boylston Two buildings on the site of Savannah Gardens will give way this weekend to the whim of Girl Scouts. The reclaimed materials will be used for an eco-camp on Rose Dhu Island, a magnificent piece of land surrounded by meandering rivers. The eco-camp is intended to enhance girls’ knowledge of and appreciation […]

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  • What’s Out There

    By Scott Boylston So, by now we all understand that heartpine is both the most common and the most coveted material in the old buildings in Savannah Gardens, and we’re happy to say that detailed plans are being made for the harvesting and re-purposing of this material as we speak, and that there has been […]

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  • Deconstructing the Unit

    By Scott Boylston What do we value? As individuals? As a culture? We value those things whose worth is apparent to us; we value what we perceive as valuable. And when the true value of something has been obscured by misperceptions or assumptions, we need new ways of seeing those things. From the beginning of […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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  • 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 […]

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