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Plastic Bottle House, Sabon Yelwa, Nigeria

Thursday 10 Nov 2011

DARE to dream...

Plastic Bottle House by Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) in Sabon Yelwa, Nigeria
Images sourced from physorg.com 
Plastic Bottle House by Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) in Sabon Yelwa, Nigeria Plastic Bottle House by Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) in Sabon Yelwa, Nigeria Plastic Bottle House by Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) in Sabon Yelwa, Nigeria
Your comments on this project

No. of Comments: 15

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01/04/12 Peeta, Munich
My thoughts exactly: what about fire, won't the whole house collapse?
17/11/11 A. Peters, Abuja, Nigeria
It's laudable and commendable. Seasoned Architects in Nigeria should take cue.
16/11/11 Ana, Melbourne
People who have houses worries about insulation. Its better to have a home like this than living in a tent.

I think its a great solution, however, its not new. This technic was developed in the 70ties by the founder of Earthship Biotecture.
There are a lot of books talking about these techniques at earthship website.
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15/11/11 Alexandra, UK
Creativity at its best. Sometimes 'need' makes humans look for new alternatives and the results are simply spectacular
15/11/11 roger hatton, orpington
A bit late to be checking for verticals at 3 meters high! but yes - great use of recycled stuff. Learn something Brixton!
N.b. wheres the guard-rail? he could break his neck falling from that poorly improvised working platform.
15/11/11 Liz, Nairobi
Just a few observations -
The Lagos-based mason having a problem with the use of sand is sadly ironic - this is an alternative to baking bricks, or cement blocks, which use both sand, as well as high-CO2 embodied cement or stabilisers and then energy for baking.

What is being overlooked here is the value of the plastic in terms of the embodied energy in that oil-based product that is going to be locked in a building rather than recycled and more virgin-oil being removed for more bottles. But, living in Nairobi, it is sad to observe that the throw-away culture is ever present here and no one recycles. So at least this is a low-CO2 solution to blocks and brick. Bravo.
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15/11/11 patrick J. Quinn, FAIA, Albany, NY
It is about 30 years since RPI student's built Martin Pawley's Garbage House for Professor Dora Crouch. They used bottles, coffee cans, for the walls, Newspaper rolls for structural members and roof covering of recycled rubber and sulphur.
It is nice to see the garbage house idea resurrected.
15/11/11 Lewis, Columbus, OH
Very ingenius method of building walls but I would like to know more about the house's insulation values for the walls. The author quickly touches on this area andit is hard to believe that this type of wall would have many areas where air could leak in and out. Great idea and hope it develops further.
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15/11/11 Mura, Harare
The best architects are community architects. I have seen this in parts of Africa but done with glass bottles! Beautiful.
15/11/11 Sonya, Moscow
I like those ideas. It is a way to give a lot of houses to poor people.

New limits of sustainable design realised in Nigeria's Plastic Bottle House by DARE 

One person's trash is another person’s building material...or so it would seem. In the village of Sabon Yelwa the Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE) has instigated an ingenious scheme to transform the region’s litter problem into a positive future for the community through the construction of new residences.

This pilot project in headed by the NGO DARE with help from London-based organisation Africa Community Trust, and not only looks to find a sustainable alternative to Nigeria’s immense housing shortage but provide street children with a stable job and a place at the next building project in planning - a local school. Teenagers have been working on the construction project as a first step into full time employment and returning to education.

The construction process involves taking used plastic bottles, filling them with sand and reattaching the caps before stacking sideways one on top of the other and securing with layers of mud. Concrete foundations provide a solid base for the residence and reams of brightly coloured string lend a jovial touch to the inside walls.

According to Trade Invest Nigeria the area of Lagos alone produces 9,000 tonnes of waste each day and with a population density of 4,193 people per sq km and a projected population of 25.4 million by 2015, the area’s waste issues are becoming ever-more menacing. Each plastic drinks bottle takes on average 450 years to biodegrade and once filled with sand creates a sustainable, eco-friendly and bullet-proof building block that can be used in a variety of architectural designs.

These alternative bricks are perfectly suited to Nigeria’s intensely hot climate as the sand provides an insulating layer, keeping room temperatures low and creating a fireproof and earthquake-resistant wall. Yahaya Ahmed is heading the project for DARE and explains: “Compacted sand inside a bottle is nearly 20 times stronger than bricks. We are even intending to build a three-storey building.”

This green technique has raised concerns in some over enhanced costs for other building projects. Lagos-based mason Mumuni Oladele told the BBC: “My fear is that this building method will increase the demand for sand and even lead to an increase in the price of sand. At the moment people looking for sand to build houses dig everywhere to get the sand. You can imagine what will happen when the demand for sand goes up to build bottle houses.”

Across the world complex sustainable technologies are being researched to provide futuristic solutions to the common problem of excess waste. What DARE and the Africa Community Trust are realising in Nigeria is an effective and relatively inexpensive answer to this ongoing issue, recycling basic materials into a valuable and longstanding community resource.

Sian Disson
News Editor

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Key Facts

Status Under construction
Value 0(m€)
Developmental Association for Renewable Energies (DARE)
Reinventing Cities

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