Facade Projects
Bottlehouse
Structures, Facades

small., along with the support of WSP Design Studio, came up with an innovative shelter design that uses low cost, lightweight and sustainably sourced materials, namely discarded plastic bottles, bamboo and straw in a bid to tackle plastic pollution and provide emergency shelter to disaster-stricken communities in the light of the recent natural disasters.

WSP’s Design Studio put together a proof-of-concept study to take Ricky’s concept a step further. The challenges were great, housing needed to be readily portable but robust enough to protect its occupants from the elements, while being made from only bamboo and scavenged plastic bottles.

As part of the study, WSP’s Design Studio tested several insulating materials, that could be placed inside each bottle, to improve the structure’s thermal performance and discovered that straw would provide the best level of thermal comfort.

The team then proposed that these thermally efficient “bottle bricks” be mounted on a formwork of bamboo struts arranged in a triangular form to ensure optimum stability. The entire structure would then be anchored to the ground through a unique set of bottle foundations weighted down by soil and sand to provide a solid base. The resulting four-meter-high structure would be easy and quick to build, in this case less than one day.

After collecting 2,000 bottles we built our first prototype for the Clerkenwell Design Week in London in May, from the bottles, bamboo and straw. Since then the Royal Academy has selected our design for their Summer Exhibition, and we’re incredibly proud to have a model of the shelter on display there.

In association with small.