House of Tapes / Emmett McNamara

© Photographer Sebb Hathaway

, a student of the College Of Art, has shared his House of Tapes with us.   The project is an exercise in re-use as emphasis was placed on developing a new function for an abundant waste material.  McNamara gathered over 7,000 tapes from charity shops, friends, and tape dealers in the local vicinity to construct the structure.

More about the project after the break.

© Photographer Sebb Hathaway

A great strength of the project lies in the materiality of the tapes, as the scattered patterning of colors creates an interesting visual palette.  We love the connection between the tapes as it adds a simplistic tectonic to project while still taking advantage of the inherent qualities of the component.

© Photographer Sebb Hathaway

For McNamara, selecting the tapes as the waste product also has an emotional value.  ”I wanted to build something that evoked emotional memory attachment in conjunction with the practical re use of an abundant waste material. Tapes have a special place in a lot of peoples hearts. I remember making mix tapes for girls I liked. The first album I bought was a tape. When someone sees a tape they perceive it in these terms. The associated cognitive imagery is part of a deeper emotional part of us.”

© Photographer Sebb Hathaway

The project offers great inspiration for renewing and prolonging the life cycle of a material.   “We need to fall in love with materials again. See not just their monetary value but instead imagine their sentiment and inherent value. There is so much stuff everywhere today. I think we should start to experiment with it more and above all else have some fun,” added McNamara.

The tape house was erected during the summer of 2010 and coincided with the end of year celebrations in the art college. 7,200 tapes were used as a cladding on discarded scaffolding for the structure.

Cite: Cilento, Karen. "House of Tapes / Emmett McNamara" 17 Feb 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 23 May 2015. <>
  • Emmett McNamara
  • Jesse Jesse


  • munter roe

    “We should start to experiment and have some fun”.

    That structure doesn’t look much fun. Maybe stick an old tape beat box in the middle where people can play the old tunes. The forms a bit simple aswell.

  • dave p

    your ma doesn’t look much fun.

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