They say that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. But if you stay inside a plastic bottle classroom during a tropical storm, it shouldn’t be a problem. More than three years after it was built and dozens of tropical storms after (including Typhoon Haiyan), the first classroom in Asia made of plastic bottles still stands proud.
The structure stands inside the compound of the Dalubhasaan ng Lungsod ng San Pablo in Laguna province in the Philippines. It took hundreds of plastic bottles to build back in December 2010.
The project was a joint project of the Laguna provincial government and architect Illac Diaz. Diaz, a former actor and model, said on why he thought of using plastic bottles in building a classroom, “instead of burying them as garbage under the ground, we thought of making them rise as buildings”.
Since then, the structure has weathered dozens of storms. On average, the Philippines is hit by 19 storms annually, with Laguna, where the classroom stands, receiving the bulk of them. Among the storms which the structure withstood was the deadly Typhoon Haiyan that hit the country late last year.
The construction of plastic bottle structures is a bit tedious because cement and sand is put inside each plastic bottle. After this, bottles are cemented together. As a result, it takes longer to make a plastic bottle classroom than a concrete one. However, based on tests, the material is stronger than hollow blocks.
The construction technique was based on what the Spaniards used in erecting the hundreds of century old churches dotting the country. With such a technique now available for building construction, probably is probably the best time to get stoned on recycling.