[Sbse] SBSE Digest, Vol 136, Issue 15

R Lorch richard at rlorch.net
Tue Feb 26 10:27:20 PST 2019


Hi Scott,

Thank you for sharing this information and photos.  It’s filled in the gaps in my knowledge.  And it’s certainly important to give credit to John Habraken for his design work on the WOBO.  Certainly Habraken has been influential in many other areas too!

It certainly was a ground-breaking and revolutionary idea - that was ahead of its time.  Imagine today if homeless people (in the developed world & elsewhere) could have access to this resource to construct a shelter.

Clearly Heineken Jr had a social conscience	as well as a practical way of lowering the costs for not shipping back the (used) bottles.  It was visionary to upcycle a product - in fact the word didn’t exist 50 years ago!  It’s such a pity that the other Heineken board members thought it detracted from the marketing of their product.  Perhaps society has changed since then and the idea might work today?  Or even that the bottle might be a generic type for many different beers - just the label is different to show the brand of beer.

Do you know if Habraken approached Heineken with the idea or if it was the other way round?  If Heineken had the initial idea, do you know how they identified Habraken?

Again, thank you for sharing this - greatly appreciated.

Kind regards,
Richard



> On 26 Feb 2019, at 16:11, Johnston, Scott <johnstsa at miamioh.edu> wrote:
> 
> Jonathan Habraken was the architect who designed the WOBO (world bottle). He still has a web page that talks about his life as a designer and architectural educator.
> 
> https://www.habraken.com <https://www.habraken.com/>
> I've attached pictures of the bottle design and a test "house" that was constructed.  The back story is as interesting as the bottle design.  Alfred Heineken jr. took over the company his father had built at a relatively young age. As part of the transition he toured the the Heineken breweries around the world. In one of the Pacific markets he heard that while the transportation costs of shipping the product to islands far from the brewery was covered in the cost, but not for returning the empty bottles back to the plant to be cleaned and refilled.  That in the day when we actually refilled beverage bottles, and made them strong enough to go through 15-20 cycles of use.  In the remote islands, the bottles ended up being dumped in the ocean.  Heineken solution was to design bottles that could be used on these islands to build small houses, suitable for the more impoverished local residents many who sorely needed a structure to live in. The label on the back of the bottle gave instructions as to how to build the houses, though you would need to separate time for "emptying" the bottles from the actual build. In an earlier life I was part of several "painting parties" with friends that started with a kegger, and that didn't always go well.
> 
> A number of WPBO's were produced, and a test house was built on the back lot of one of Heineken's estates. Data logger were installed to record the inside temperature of this little structure. It actually worked pretty well.  The green tint gave some shading in summer, but transmitter solar gains for passive solar heating in winter, at least in more temperate climates.  
> 
> But the other part of the story as to why the WOBO never made it into prime time was the corporate culture. Heineken Jr. thought this was a great idea, and test mock-up showed it could work.  But while Heineken Sr. had retired, his cronies in upper management had not.  The idea of building squatter housing with Heineken "Premium" beer bottles didn't sit well with marketing.
> 
> Habraken also had an idea of ways to recycle the side panels from the boxy Citroen wagons of the era.  This concept never took off either, but the 1991  BMW Z1 Roadster was an interesting model for making it easier to recycle car parts.  And in a relate area if you're not familiar with Molectra's work on reverse engineering the deconstruction of conventional tires you should check it out.
> 
> Sorry for overloading your in-boxes, but this is a lecture I used to give that was a lot of fun.  The thread on the topic rekindled some great memories.
> 
> Scott Johnston
> 
> On Feb 25, 2019 4:24 PM, "R Lorch" <richard at rlorch.net <mailto:richard at rlorch.net>> wrote:
> Hi Rupesh,
> 
> Thanks for sharing this - it’s a fascinating project.  
> 
> About 50 years ago, there was a project using disposable glass beer bottles to build houses as an alternative to bricks.  The glass beer  bottles were re-designed to be interlocked together.  I believe it was an experiment that Heineken beer was involved in.  Architectural writer and critic Martin Pawley was reignited interest in the project with his book in 1975(?) entitled Garbage Housing.  
> 
> https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-heineken-bottles-were-square-62138490/ <https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/when-heineken-bottles-were-square-62138490/> 
> 
> https://inhabitat.com/heineken-wobo-the-brick-that-holds-beer/ <https://inhabitat.com/heineken-wobo-the-brick-that-holds-beer/>
> 
> It’s certainly time to revisit (and update) these ideas.
> 
> My questions for you are: What is the durability of PET bottles?  How will UV, freeze-thaw cycles and other environmental factors affect its durability?  Are you planning to build a house and monitor it during occupation?
> 
> Kind regards,
> Richard
> 
>  
> 
>> On 25 Feb 2019, at 20:00, sbse-request at uidaho.edu <mailto:sbse-request at uidaho.edu> wrote:
>> 
>> From: Rupesh Shrestha <rupeshshrestha2005 at gmail.com <mailto:rupeshshrestha2005 at gmail.com>>
>> Subject: [Sbse] Bottle house construction at Kavre, Nepal
>> Date: 25 February 2019 at 18:45:33 GMT
>> To: sbse at uidaho.edu <mailto:sbse at uidaho.edu>
>> 
>> 
>> Dear SBSE'rs,
>> 
>> Greetings from Kathmandu ! I would like to share about a project I recently completed called "Bottle house". 
>> 
>> What is a bottle house?
>> Bottle house is a building construction technology which is a cost-effective, environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional building bricks. The house built up by waste Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles filled with sand or soil as a building unit for eco-sustainability.
>> 
>> A student workshop was conducted for disseminating knowledge about this technology. Students then volunteered in construction of this house which is made for a earthquake affected family. Students are from Architecture / engineering college in Kathmandu.  The idea was to involve students during actual construction so that students can benefit in following ways:-
>> 
>> - Working with community as a volunteer
>> - Exposure in sustainable building construction technology sector
>> - Leadership development
>> - Outside the class learning experience in post-disaster reconstruction setup
>> 
>> Below are the links to:-
>> 1) Brochure of bottle house 
>> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nb5utx24V_Lh80tXGVmt8UbQR0o4HGXq/view?usp=sharing <https://drive.google.com/file/d/1nb5utx24V_Lh80tXGVmt8UbQR0o4HGXq/view?usp=sharing>
>> 
>> 2) few pictures of the workshop and practical session
>> https://drive.google.com/file/d/1loCwowIOeFVhmf6MHSHN1t-g-k_A5ZLZ/view?usp=sharing <https://drive.google.com/file/d/1loCwowIOeFVhmf6MHSHN1t-g-k_A5ZLZ/view?usp=sharing>
>> 
>> Your comments and suggestions in this regard will be highly appreciated and always will be well received ! 
>> 
>> Thank you and I wish you a pleasant time ahead. 
>> 
>> Best regards,
>> Rupesh
>> 
>> Kathmandu, Nepal
>> 
> 
> 
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> <heineken-wobo-brick-house.jpg><WOBO Design.pdf><WOBO House Plan.pdf><Citroen House.pdf><BMW.pdf><Molectra.pdf>

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