A Brisbane man hoping to build self-sustaining structures out of scraps from the old eastern span of the Bay Bridge says he plans to hold a competition for architecture students who believe they can create a winning design.
David Grieshaber, a technology entrepreneur, was featured in The San Francisco Examiner last week about his a proposed community project he believes would provide Bay Area residents with a two-pronged benefit: the creation of a self-sustaining eco-friendly multiuse space and the preservation of historic pieces of the bridge's old eastern span.
The project would include the use of recycled pieces of the bridge as the structure of the building, as well as concrete, steel and glass. No wood or plaster is being deemed useful to the project, Grieshaber said.
His idea for the project arose months ago when Grieshaber and his wife were driving across the bridge.
"I asked my wife what she thought they were going to do with the scraps of the Bay Bridge and she suggested calling Caltrans to find out," he said.
Grieshaber said he was shocked when he called and was told that most of the material would be sold to a company in China.
"I was told they were recycling some and selling the rest to China," he said. "I was hoping it would stay in America" since the Bay Bridge is listed in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places.
Bay Bridge spokesman Andrew Gordon said whatever happens to the materials is at the discretion of the contractors leading the demolition. Gordon said transit officials expect pieces of the old span will be recycled or sold to other construction firms. He said there are early-stage plans to save some pieces to be preserved for unspecified historical purposes.
Grieshaber said he spent countless hours researching and interviewing people involved with building infrastructure resources housing. Armed with more than 1,000 signatures, Grieshaber said he was warned to prepare for a battle. He says he's ready.
Grieshaber said currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate architect students in Bay Area schools can register for the competition at www.baybridgehouse.org/register.