Archive / Chicago Compost Shelter

Nr. 226 / 1988 / United States

Chicago Compost Shelter

An adjacent lot converted into a temporary shelter for the homeless.


Dan Peterman


While working for the Resource Center, a non-profit recycling organization, Dan Peterman converted an adjacent lot into a temporary shelter for the homeless. Peterman created Chicago Compost Shelter with a Volkswagen van body, burying it in compost to retain heat. The van’s seats were removed, making the space large enough for a bed and some furniture. The compost used for the shelter was collected as part of a project to recycle organic waste in Chicago by the Resource Center. The compost consisted of a mixture of leaves, grass, clippings, and police horse manure.


United States


Temporary shelter for homeless in the winter, using organic material to produce heat.

Beneficial outcomes

Heated, temporary shelter without the danger of fire.

Maintained by

Dan Peterman, Resource Center


Homeless people