The concept of local building isn't new. Back in the day without airplanes and widespread transport, it was simply more practical and cheaper to use what resources were close by. But now it is commonplace to order marble from Italy and bamboo floors from China. Reframing the concept of building a house from local materials challenges architects to think about where each component of the house is made.
Like local eating, local building brings a lot of benefits, especially to the community. Naturalist and writer Briony Penn from British Columbia, with help from builder Michael Dragland, recently built a 100 mile house on Salt Spring Island. As she says,
"The 100-mile house is just fun. It provides a fun way to define how you're going to build a house, because you go out and you talk to all your neighbors, and it builds community and puts money back in the hands of everybody in your community."
Last week, the Architecture Foundation of British Columbia launched an international competition to design a 1,200-square-foot, four-person home that exclusively uses materials made or recycled within 100 miles of Vancouver. It'll be interesting to see what kind of designs come out of it!