Posts Tagged ‘architecture


garbage architecture


Thai monks from the Sisaket province have used over one million recycled glass 
bottle to construct their Buddhist temple. Mindfulness is at the center of the 
Buddhist discipline and the dedication and thoughtfulness required to build 
everything from the toilets to their crematorium from recycled bottles shows 
what creativity and elbow grease can accomplish.

The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple is about 400 miles northeast of Bangkok in 
the city of Khun Han close to the Cambodian border. Using Heineken bottles 
(green) and Chang Beer bottles (brown) the monks were able to clean up the 
local pollution and create a useful structure that will be a visual reminder 
to the scope of pollution and the potential we can make with limber minds.

The water tower and tourist bathrooms are even made from beer bottle litter. 
The monks were able to have the local people bring them the building materials 
which beautifully reflect the Thai sun.

the greenUPGRADER has several pictures of the recent buddhist temple in Thailand.

Of course this isn’t the first glass bottle building. In this picture you can see friends making some more empties available for building with at Rhyolite, Nevada in Death Valley. How’s that for ruffin’ it? Go to the desert and drink your way to shelter. No wonder its a ghost town.


“In the old ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada, a saloon owner named Tom Kelly, built a house out of bottles because lumber was scarce at the time. Reportedly he used some 50,000 beer, whiskey, soda and medicine bottles to build the structure which still stands today. Mr. Kelley was 76 years old when he built the house and it took him almost six months to complete.”

It is not surprising that the monks had used Heineken bottles as Alfred Heineken in 1960 had devised the ‘World Bottle’ or WOBO for short. As the story goes, Alfred Heineken had an epiphany while on a world tour of Heineken factories. When Heineken was on the Caribbean island of Curacao in 1960 he saw many bottles littering the beach due to the fact that the island had no economic means of returning the bottles to the bottling plants from which they had come. He was also concerned with the lack of affordable building materials and the inadequate living conditions plaguing Curacao’s lower-class. Envisioning a solution for these problems, he found a dutch architect John Habraken to design what he called “a brick that holds beer.”

Over the next three years, the Heineken WOBO went through a design process. Some of the early designs were of interlocking and self-aligning bottles. The idea sprung from the belief that the need for mortar would add complexity and expense to the bottle wall’s simplicity and affordability. Some designs proved to be effective building materials but too heavy and slow-forming to be economically produced. Other designs were rejected by Heineken based on aesthetic preferences. In the end, the bottle that was selected was a compromise between the previous designs.

The bottle was designed to be interlocking, laid horizontally and bonded with cement mortar with a silicon additive. A 10 ft x 10 ft shack would take approximately 1,000 bottles to build. In 1963, 100,000 WOBO’s were produced in two sizes, 350 and 500 mm. This size difference was necessary in order to bond the bottles when building a wall, in the same way as a half brick is necessary when building with bricks.Unfortunately most of them are destroyed and no bottles are left. They are very rare and become a collectors item.

Only two WOBO structures exist and they are both on the Heineken estate in Noordwijk, near Amsterdam. The first was a small shed which had a corrugated iron roof and timber supports where the builder could not work out how to resolve the junction between necks and bases running in the same direction. Later, a timber double garage was renovated with WOBO siding. Alfred Heineken did not develop the WOBO concept further and the idea never got a chance to materialize.

The lack of support for the WOBO idea didn’t slow bottle buildings from popping up. I remember visiting the George Plumb’s ‘Glass Castle’ near Duncan, BC. Which was destroyed to make way for highway expansion. I still have some classic bottles from there before it was cleared away. 

If you wanted you could build your own earthship using bottles, tyres, and other recycled materials. You could maybe even build a place at the Earthship Landing Zone in Taos, New Mexico.


With the economic crisis I’m sure we will see more people pushed to the fringe and become desperate and build shelter with whatever is available where they are. Check out UNHOUSED for links and papers on squatting, madhousers, slum tv and Zero Yen Houses.


Banyan town


 TheNaha Harbor Diner in Okinawa, Japan is a life-size rendition of a banyan tree, also known as gajumaru. The aptly-named Banyan Town shopping center near the entrance of Onoyama Park features a twenty foot tall tree with a pan-Asian restaurant nestled amid its branches. Accessible by a spiral staircase around back and an in-trunk elevator, the restaurant specializes in locally grown and organic harvested foods fresh from the farm.


roden crater skyscape

Roden Crater is near the Grand Canyon, in Flagstaff, Arizona. It is an old volcano crater,400,000 year old and 3km wide, that since 1979 has been part of a project by ‘light artist’ James Turrell. He has been transforming it into into a massive naked-eye observatory, designed specifically for the viewing of celestial phenomena. He stated that he plans to to open the crater for public viewing in 2012. 

James Turrell a pilot kept seeing the Roden Crater and was draw to it. He ‘studied optics and perceptual psychology’ and is known as a sculptor of light, over the years having used natural and artificial light to help create his work, many in the form of optical illusions, and challenge people’s perceptions of the world around them. many of his pieces involve something called a skyspace, essentially a room which has had precisely calculated sections of the ceilling and/or walls removed in order for light to enter the room at a specific angle.

He talks about ‘collecting light’ at the crater;

 Also, I wanted to use the very fine qualities of light. First of all, moonlight. Also, there’s a space where you can see your shadow from the light of Venus alone – things like this. And also wanted to gather starlight that was from outside, light that’s not only from outside the planetary system which would be from the sun or reflected off of the moon or a planet, but also to emanate light from the galactic planes where you’ve got this older light that’s away from the light even of our galaxy. So that is light that would be at least three and a half billion years old. So you’re gathering light that’s older than our solar system. And it’s possible to gather that light, it takes a good bit of stars to do that, and a good look into older skies, away from the Milky Way. You can gather that light and physically have that in place so that it’s physically present to feel this old light.

and combine that with his interest in synesthesia;

Now there’s a lot to do with sensory synesthesia as well, in that the feeling of light in so many ways – you probably have seen or handled a lemon and suddenly felt the taste in your mouth. I mean it suddenly floods your mouth. The perception through vision actually creates the sensation in taste. The same thing can happen in sound and sound can change the perception of color. 

those 15 seats at the site are going to be be VIP only I guess for the 2012 alignment.

see here for some more recent photos of the project.


bling my shipping container

shipping containers changed the world.

and for some time now they have been getting recycled into housing.

check out the 12 Shipping Container Housing Ideas over at Treehugger.

really though the reason the containers are cheap and available is because of capitalist overproduction. so people exporting from China consider it cheaper to sell it or scrap it than to return it to China. Ottawa thinks it they are great for housing artists.

and the housing is working out great, but be careful which one your walking into. they also make great prisons! The USA has used them to just truck people around, but ooops. they  asphyxiated their prisoners. the USA has applied the modular idea to other new prisons.


russian enigma


hotel or military site?

hotel or military site?



strange russian bulidings

May 2018
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