This week, architect and faculty member Jesús D'Alessandro, from Universidad Iberoamericana completed a workshop with his students in Dominican Republic which aimed to highlight the unsustainable side of PET bottles while illustrating the material's properties and ability to be reused in design.
With students from the university he created a corridor structure made only of recycled PET bottles which are connected using segmented PVC pipe joints and one inch screws. People passing by the university square can walk through the structure and discover more about the way about the environmental challenge that un-recycled PET bottles pose.
"At an estimated rate of a hundred million plastic bottles used every day in the world, that can last seven hundred years, of which around 80% remains un-recycled every day. We can officially start considering PET bottles as an unavoidable renewable resource, not produced by nature, but present and increasing its number in nature,” Jesús explains. “Given that plastic is such an outstanding material for us architects and designers in general, this is an encouraging battle of creativity versus the dumping of it."
Jesús D'Alessandro's workshop on research, design and sustainability is aimed at inspiring university students to explore the structural and material potential of PET bottles, and consequently to develop innovative architectural ideas and structures that include PET bottles. They are shown that the service life of these bottles can be extended far beyond the usual expectations, and thus less bottles end up in the sea or at landfills or on the streets.
"The present amount of plastic items floating in the coastline and dumped at the streets of the Dominican Republic worries us and drives this particular initiative. Let's see what happens in the long term as we endure in promoting environmental awareness to common people and near future designers. Decision takers often establish appropriate policies but normal informed people making millions of sustainable small decisions should to be the goal here," he concluded.
The research, education and awareness program has been supported by Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE) and Coca Cola (Dominican Republic).