This incredible building is nine stories tall, was made from 1.5 million recycled plastic bottles, and is strong enough to withstand the forces of nature.
In Nigeria, activists are already using plastic bottles to create homes that are bullet-, fire- and earthquake-proof. In Tapei, Taiwan, innovative minds have utilized the same principle but on a much larger and classier scale. As Lucy Wang of Inhabitat reports, the incredible EcoARK is built from 1.5 million recycled plastic bottles and is strong enough to withstand the forces of nature.
The EcoARK was designed by architect Arthur Huang, is nine stories tall, and cost $3 million USD to construct. However, much of those costs are offset by solar and wind energy, which help power the facility. Considering the structure’s main mantra is “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle,” the initiative fits.
Initially, the EcoARK was constructed as part of an exhibition during the 2010 Taipei International Flora Expo. After seven years, however, it continues to inspire eco-minded architects around the world, as well as promote an important message about adopting environmentally-friendly habits to reduce waste and prevent climate change from worsening.
The Far Eastern Group, one of the world’s largest producers of PET products, commissioned Huang to design and build the impressive building that is made from millions of plastic bottles. Taiwan was the determined location to exhibit EcoARK, as the country consumes 4.5 million PET bottles a year.
The EcoARK is the first-of-its-kind building in the world. The key to its design is polli-bricks, which are hollow building blocks made of recycled PET. They were developed by Miniwiz, which was founded by Huang. Reportedly, the polli-bricks were made from over one million recycled plastic bottles, were melted down into PET pellets, and were re-engineered into a new bottle-like shape. Because each brick features interlocking grooves that fit together like LEGOs, a minimal amount of silicon sealant is required.
Once the blocks are assembled, they are coated with a fire- and water-resistant film that protects the structure from the elements. Wang writes,
“The EcoARK’s curved and transparent facade is made up of these modular panels screwed and mounted onto a structural steel frame. Although the EcoARK weighs half as much as conventional buildings, it’s resistant to earthquakes and typhoons, and can withstand sustained winds up of to 130 kilometers per hour.”
To keep the construction process as eco-friendly as possible, low-carbon building techniques which maintain a zero-carbon footprint were utilized. Thanks to natural ventilation, the building stays effortlessly cool. Additionally, the air inside the unique bricks provides insulation from heat. Rainwater that is collected is also reused to cool the building. Finally, the bricks’ transparency allows natural light to filter into the building during the day.
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