Building homes using recycled plastic bottles – that’s the innovative idea of a design school in Colombia specialised in sustainable habitat.
The inspiration came from the ancient “wattle and daub” housebuilding technique: the idea is to stack recycled bottles filled with sand and earth.
The design school offers courses to teach students how to empower communities by using alternative and accessible technologies.
“The idea is to create cyclical behaviour consistent with the environment we live in, to understand how we interact. Whether it’s consumer-waste, linear behaviour, or whether we can understand how we consume and discard and incorporate that into the cycles around us,” says Ana Maria Gutierez, the director and founder of the design school, Organizmo.
The idea is to recycle building techniques of the past in order to minimise environmental damage.
Earth, adobe, hay and recycled PET bottles are used to build the walls and “green roofs” of homes, which include rain water treatment systems, where people can grow food in order to recycle and save money. Composting toilets are fitted into these ecological homes, where organic farming is also the norm.
Lucia Cano from Spain is one of many international students attracted by the course. She says architects nowadays cannot afford not to take into account the environment when designing buildings.
“Forty percent of CO2 emissions come from construction, all around the world, so we architects can’t build without thinking about all the harm that will come to our generations if we destroy Mother Nature. We have a great responsibility,” she says.