The project of United Bottle was developed by Dirk Hebel, Tobias Klauser and Jörg Stollmann. It is a PET water bottle and a building unit at the same time, which can be normally recycled. It can be distributed in six-packs on containers and collected in plastic waste containers. This makes the bottle suitable for application in catastrophy-hit regions where both drinking water and building material are scarce and in need. The bottle can be used repeatedly for water storage, but there is also a second use: it can be filled with heavy material such as sand and dirt, and then used as a brick. It can also be left empty and used as a building element for a light-weight structure such as an indoor pavilion.
The concept of United Bottle is intended to solve both the garbage problem and the housing need for areas destroyed by hurricane or tsunami. The bottles can be used to build stable walls for temporary and long term shelter – these structures can be covered by tents or other membrane structures. The pieces lock into each other which gives additional stability and resistance to torsion. In 2007 the first prototype of the United Bottle was 3D printed by stereolithography.

United_Bottle filled with water
United_Bottle filled with dirt
United_Bottle filled with sand
Concept scheme of the bottle house
application of United_Bottle
United_Bottle pavilion in Frankfurt
United_Bottle pavilion and the creators
United_Bottle pavilion interior
Bar in Venice built from United_Bottle units

Guatemala bottle schools

In Guatemala a technique is used which was invented by Susanne Heisse. Plastic bottles are filled with plastic garbage found on the streets: plastic bags, wrappings, pieces of styrofoam, and so on. The bottles remain light and obtain a slightly higher isolation value. For the construction of the building it is necessary to construct a simple frame, either of wood or concrete. The bottles are fixed within the frame between two layers of chicken wire fencing. The wall is then covered and stiffened with cement mortar.
Because of the climate conditions there is no need for very high isolation values. The bottles are only used as filling to reduce the amount of cement that is necessary to make the walls. There also plays the role empowerment: the school children and people of the neighborhood are involved in the construction of their own school which is possible because the technology is very straightforward and does not involve trained labour. Finally, the participants learn from this how to build structures from on-site resources and garbage.

School in La Cereza, foto www.hugitforward.com
Scheme of PET bottle wall according to Eric Baker


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.

Botafogo fish

Three giant fish made out of PET bottles was an installation that was part of a United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The three fish were created under the slogan »recycle your attitude« and should resemble a family. The sculptures can be lit at night in various colors.

Relax square

ECO Project with students of the Experimental studio Achten/Nováková at FA CTU Prague2014. Relax square was showing one minute production of PET bottles. It took only few hours to assemble.

El Zamorano House

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.