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Sustainability, ‘60s-Style: Building Homes From Beer Bottles
August 29, 2012
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How cool is this? Way back in 1963, Alfred "Freddy" Heineken visited the Caribbean island of Curaçao, and he noticed two problems: the beaches were littered with empty beer bottles, and there weren't enough building materials for the island's poor to create housing.

His solution: ask an architect to design a beer bottle that doubles as a stackable, self-aligning, interlocking brick. Dutch architect N. John Habraken came back with the Heineken WOBO (World Bottle). Check it out:

wobo-feature-1.jpg

1000 bottles were enough to build a simple 10x10-foot structure. Here's how a basic home built from WOBO bottles looked:

wobo-feature-2.jpg

Great idea, right? Unfortunately, it never went beyond the concept stage. Since the '60s, almost every bottle has been destroyed and only two structures made from WOBO still stand, both on the Heineken estate in Noordwijk, near Amsterdam.

The idea's originator is no longer around to make it a reality - Freddy Heineken passed away in 2002 - but it still seems pretty clever. What do you think? Should someone revisit the idea of bottles (beer or otherwise) that double as building supplies? Let us know in the comments below.

Here's an exhibit that tells the story of WOBO at the Heineken Experience in Amsterdam:

wobo-feature-3.jpg

The only flaw obvious flaw in the WOBO concept? If you decided to bypass a contractor and build the house yourself, you'd be totally hammered by the time you drew up the floor plans.

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