In economic downturns of yore, "reduce, reuse, and recycle" was less a mantra of environmental do-gooders than a financial survival strategy. Which is where the second annual Lifecycle Building Challenge comes in.
Sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Lifecycle Building Challenge awards architecture that recycles and reuses building components, and eliminates unnecessary construction materials (and the greenhouse gasses used to create them).
The winning and honorably-mentioned concepts include several modular, prefab, and pod-style concepts for housing developments that separate reusable and re-configurable living spaces from permanent plumbing and electrical cores. There are also some recycled sea-container ideas that are pretty cool: Check out the Spoor House, the most pragmatic (i.e., build-able) of the bunch. Perhaps its most radical concept is that the Spoor House conforms to the size of the average home built in the 1970s: a far-from-palatial 1,550 square feet. It's a modest proposal that seems just about right for the coming lean times.