Another innovative housing project using alternative building materials will soon provide relief for people who are still living in shelters or makeshift camps after last month’s destructive earthquakes.
A project to build houses using bamboo has already started in one community in Puebla while temporary shelters inspired by Central Asian yurts and built from PVC tubing are providing housing relief in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region of Oaxaca.
Now, a project to build temporary homes out of plastic bottles is set to get under way with earthquake victims in Jojutla, Morelos, to be the first beneficiaries.
The project is the brainchild of Fernanda Solano, an architect who noticed that a lot of empty plastic bottles were left at the sites of collapsed buildings and thought they could be put to use in a constructive way.
After some research, she contacted the Querétaro-based non-profit group Viem, which already has experience with pop-up housing projects.
In an interview with the newspaper El Universal, project collaborator Dafne Gallardo explained that each PET bottle becomes an “eco-brick” after it is filled with garbage or compressed rubble, and provides both strength and stability to the structures in which it is used.
Sacks filled with sand or rubble are used for the structure’s foundation while alternate layers of adobe and PET bottles are used for the home itself, she said.
The bottles are either tied together with raffia fiber or joined using cement mixed with gravel or, given its current availability, rubble. Each three by three-meter dwelling will use an estimated 2,100 bottles and take a team of 10 volunteers between three and five days to build.
Gallardo said that the three main benefits of the temporary homes are the speed with which they can be built, their resistance to seismic activity and the fact that they retain heat.
The first focus of the project will be Jojutla, where thousands of people were affected by the devastating September 19 quake, but there are also plans to expand to Oaxaca and Chiapas where thousands more lost their homes in last month’s first destructive earthquake.
Viem is currently waiting for authorities to grant the relevant permits but expects to start building its first sustainable PET-bottle homes by the end of the month.
Source: El Universal (sp)