I have a riddle for you: How can an apartment built from 1.4 billion Euros be worth nothing?
Well, they are decommissioned Euros shredded and packed into bricks. The location isn’t that great either — it’s in the lobby of a vacant office building.
Irish artist Frank Buckley built the Euro house as a monument to what he calls the “madness” inflicted on the Republic of Ireland from Europe's single currency, and said he hopes to spark debate about what currency really means and what it’s really worth. The house is now open to the public, and while he won't be charging admission he is taking donations and selling his paintings. Donations can be made at the location, or via the website he built for the apartment.
The bricks, shown at the right, were packed together as protocol by the Irish Central bank, which shreds all misprinted Euros. The bank gave the bricks to Buckley, who said he filled out quite a lot of paperwork to be able to haul two truckloads of the stuff out of the bank to use to build the apartment.
The building in which Buckley built his three-room apartment adds to the symbolism. Even though it is in a prime location, it has never held a tenant.
"The developer just completed it as the bubble burst," said Buckley. "I went to him and he was delighted to give it to me."
Once hailed as the “Celtic Tiger,” Ireland’s previously prosperous economy hit a major downturn in recent years, hitting a low point in late 2010 when the European Union funneled $85 billion to the struggling economy to help pay off sovereign debt.
Buckley got caught up in the wave, and is now unemployed and deeply in debt. He now lives in the apartment, which was built with donated timber and a door and window given to him by a friend. The artist spent only 35 euros for his masterpiece, all of which went to wallpaper paste.
Buckley is satisfied with his work, and said the house is so warm he doesn’t need a blanket to sleep at night.
"Whatever you say about the euro, it's a great insulator."