La Casa Botellas in Puerto Iguazu in Argentina is the work of Alfredo Santa Cruz, who is neither architect nor engineer. Initially he built a play-house for his daughter from recycled materials and found the result so fascinating that he decided to continue. He built a residence for his family much in the same spirit as Andreas Froese discusses earlier in this book: to solve the garbage problem in combination with housing shortage. Within the wooden frame he placed about 1200 PET bottles as filling; he made curtains out of the bottle caps, and the roof contains 1300 re-used tetrapackages.
A house made of 13,500 plastic bottles was built by a retired proffesor of mathematics Tomislav Radovanovič. Only the foundation is made of concrete. With the help of his students, compeltion of this house took the builder 5 years. Not only the floor, the walls and the columns and the roof is made of plastics, the house is also equipped with articles made of PET bottles. The kitchen table and the chairs, the lights and even the bathroom was designed from plastics. Some bottles are filled with concrete. some with silicon and the rest is left empty. The shape of the bottles is changed in some cases with the use of heat and wooden or steel mould. Some decorative pieces were painted by the author. Additionally 2500 caps were used just for decoration.
Case del Fe (Faith House) is a house built for the Hondurian Foundation for Rehabilitation and integration of handicapped people. This building does not feature a green roof. For pillars, Andreas Froese used vehicle wheel rims to create columns.
The My Shelter foundation (led by Illac Angelo Diaz) acquired site from the local government in San Pablo and sponsorship by Pepsi to build their first PET bottle school in Asia on the Philippines. For the school construction, 9000 PET bottles were collected during a public run in San Pablo and filled with mud, sand, straws, and even manure, all of this mixed with water. The space between the bottles is also filled with adobe which later simply dries in the sun. The structure is strenghtened by steel bars.
There exist several examples of such schools, most often realized by non-governmental organisations, such as My Shelter and Hug it Forward. Building the object is usually just visible result of primar intentions: community support together with cleaner landscape. The latter has already built a number of schools in Guatemala. The precursor of Hug it Forward is the independent organization Pura-vida founded by Susana Heisse in 2005.
Susana Heisse and Pura Vida, 2005
This ECO activist and former East German prisoner founded the Pura Vida organization in order to help people in solving the garbage problem in the village of San Marcos. Two years later it moved to Lake Atitlan to form an Ecological movement: Susana Heisse invented the technology of ECO-brick: a PET bottle stuffed with oter plastic garbage. The ECO-brick is light, insulating and sustainable building unit using only local resources. When cleaned and closed its hygienic and shows safer behaviour during earthquakes.
After a hurricane Stan in 2005 Susana Heisse realized garbage could be turned into cheap building material. In 2008 Pura Vida developed their first Alternative Recycle Manual (www.puravidaatitlan.org), where communities around the world can learn how to transform garbage into construction.
Plastic bottle house
This house was built from empty plastic bottles by Maria Ponce, 76, who lives in the village of El Borbollon, El Salvador. Maria built this house in 2003 with plastic bottles because she did not have enough money to make it in the usual way. Below, Maria stands inside of her home, showing off the roof, which is also built from plastic bottles.
Eighty-six-year-old Maria Ponce, stands at the door of her house in the village of El Borbollon, El Transito, west of San Salvador, on March 14, 2017.
Campo Cielo, Honduras, 2004
Campo Cielo is a sort of club room for women realized in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, 2004 by Andreas Froese. It offers shelter for about eight people. The building has an integrated water tank which required that cement had to be used in order to protect the earth mortar from water.
Froese usually does not apply cement in the walls of the buildings, but rather relies on earth mortar to stick the PET bottles together (see for example also the Trivadrum Cerala in India on this page).
Aquaducto Romano, Honduras, 2004
In order to experiment with vault structures incorporating PET bottles, the study object Aquaducto Romano was built by the Foundation Ecopark Zamorano in Honduras. A copy of a Roman aquaduct, multiple methods of building and more than ten different mixtures of mortar (mixtures of cement, earth, and lime) are tested in this object.
Froeses’ work has found a lot of application all over the world, and can be found from Honduras and Mexico to Nigeria, India, and other countries.
Andreas Froese is a German active in Honduras, South America and who has developed a number of techniques to integrate PET bottles in building construction. For this purpose he started the company ECO-TEC in 2001 in Honduras. This company supports among other environmental issues the reuse of solid waste in architecture. Froeses’ developed building technique reduces the use of concrete in building to 40% of regular cost. The system uses the PET bottle as a brick, fills it with natural resources such as sand or mud, and sticks it clay and other locally produced garbage such as rubble and vermiculture. Froese usually employs people in social need which adds another dimension of sustainability to his approach.
In El Zamorano, Honduras, a house from 8000 PET bottles was constructed in 2003. The green roof in wet conditions can weigh up to 30 tons. Nevertheless, there are no extra reinforced supports other than the PET wall. This house is generally considered the first PET bottle house without the use of cement for the walls.