The Cathedral of Junk

The Cathedral of Junk

Adrienne Breaux
Jun 12, 2009

We love seeing found objects incorporated in interior and outdoor spaces. Oftentimes, these pieces can have special meaning to the owner, whether it was passed down through the family or perhaps found in a funny or interesting way. Regardless, you've probably heard that old saying "One man's junk is another man's treasure." One Austin resident has taken the idea of the found object and created a masterpiece (as well as tourist attraction) in his backyard. More after the jump...

Vince Hannemann didn't have any grand plans of becoming one of Austin's favorite "weird" spots when he began the cathedral of junk back in 1988; he just thought it would be fun and cool to do it. He's worked on it steadily ever since and it's estimated to contain over 60 tons of junk. Featuring a hollow frame with which he's wrapped everything from old children's toys to bicycle parts, the cathedral is surprisingly structurally sound: it's been given the okay by several city engineers as safe for the public.

What these photos can surely not convey, is the peace and calm that surrounds the Cathedral of Junk. One feels an immediate sense of awe and Zen upon exploring the cathedral's many chambers and levels. We've heard other visitors exclaiming the same thing: that it's every kid's dream playhouse. And indeed the Cathedral is a time capsule of sorts: you'll recognize lots of toys and objects of your youth while poking around the endless layers of junk.

While we understand that building a tower of junk is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, this exceptional example is still an inspiration to the rest of us who are inspired by the idea of creating an outdoor space with found objects. Along with the Cathedral, you'll also find other spaces with which to hang out in Hannemann's backyard---a lesson to us all to incorporate as many hidden hangout spots as possible in our own spaces.

And if you are thinking that only little boys or other junk lovers like the Cathedral of Junk, think again. Hannemann's backyard is often rented out for weddings, birthday parties and other events. So if you've been looking for a little junk inspiration for your own space and you live in Austin, go check out the Cathedral of Junk. These pictures don't do it justice!

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