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access to tools for the beginning of infinity

Tiny shed built from local dirt in downtown San Francisco

The tiny wattle-and-daub hut on Ellis Street is likely the only earth-built shelter in downtown San Francisco. Even more impressive, the materials were scavenged from the city itself.

“The alley had no access to earth since it was all paved,” explains the shed’s builder Julie Glanville, “so we looked on craigslist and got earth coming from renovations in people’s houses… and by chance the Senator Hotel was being remodeled and I heard about a hole through the basement so I was about to get a couple buckets of local, Tenderloin, very sandy soil”.

The vertical part of the wattle- the woven part of the walls- was made from bamboo harvested from Golden Gate Park “with the permission of a park gardener”. The horizontal weave was made from tule reeds harvested from Lake Merced “with the permission of a natural areas gardener”.

The timbers are all reclaimed wood. Even the red clay used for aesthetic purposes was donated from a local clay studio. Of course, the plants on the living roof are all natives.

Currently, the shed is serving partly to store tools for the Tenderloin National Forest (the tiny urban park where the hut is located) and partly as an art gallery for local artists.