When plastic bottles change into architecture

Posted on 09 September 2014.

An original idea for recycling waste? Thanks to two architecture students, plastic bottles are turning into ephemeral structures.

From experiments to prototypes, sustainable architecture is now using bottles... plastic ones! For those in the know, these PET containers – made from polyethylene terephthalate, which relies heavily on refined oil – are much more interesting than the mundane disposable packaging they appear to be at first sight. In 2012, two young architects, Maciej Siuda from Poland and Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez from Spain, caused a stir at the Architecture Biennale in Venice with their inflatable and inflated structure. Made entirely from transparent bottles, its principle is simple. Their project, baptized Devebere, consists of a bag filled with waste, in this case plastic bottles, from which air is drawn to create a shape.

Venice in Italy is the location for a plastic bottle structure that becomes a marketplace - a cupola that market traders can make themselves from waste recovered on site.

25,000 bottles used!

An arch or a dome - anything is possible for an ephemeral structure that adapts to the location and type of waste available. In Venice, the structure becomes a marketplace, a cupola that can be erected on any of the city’s campos. The market traders can make it themselves from the waste found nearby. Allowing everyone to contribute to recycling, the concept won the European Gau:di competition – a competition for students held by the French Cité de l'Architecture et du Patrimoine. Since winning, the structure has become nomadic and changes to fit in with the location and materials available. After Venice in Italy, it was the turn of Poland to receive this surprising structure, its sapphire colored arches punctuated with blue caps softening the edges of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Wroclaw, and in July in the small town of Kielce followed suit. The more than 25,000 bottles used proved they could be as useful as the commonplace cinderblock. But thinking about it, perhaps the number is not that impressive given how many bottles around the world are emptied just during the summer months... Attractive and flexible, will these ephemeral arches soon start a world tour?