It had to happen sooner or later that someone would revive the really fantastic idea of making bottles for water (or beer) that could also be used as bricks for making housing in "crises" situations. The United Bottle proposal recalls the Heineken World Bottle(WOBO), a bottle that could be used as a brick after the beer was consumed, and what Martin Pawley calls "secondary use." The development of the WOBO is presented in Pawley's book "Garbage Housing." I hope to eventually make a PDF of the book and post it on UNHOUSED.
World Bottle: http://unhoused.livejournal.com/4687.html
Garbage Housing, By Martin Pawley, Krieger Publishing Company, 1975, 118 pages, hardcover, ISBN: 0470672781
United Bottle proposes a new PET water bottle designed to function as instant building material in crisis situations. The project's working hypothesis is that design should think beyond the product and consider the waste for future use. Fifty billion PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles are currently circulating in Europe alone. Since the obligatory bottle deposit was introduced, the return quota has exceeded 90 percent. PET bottles can be used as returnable bottles, recycled, and transformed into a variety of products – from all forms of PET vessels to textiles, such as linings and fleece fabrics. This process – called "Up-cycling" – mostly occurs in China, while the final products are sold again on the European market. Taking into consideration this intersection of local and global circuits and the increasing scarcity of resources, United Bottle suggests additional recycling circuits. The form of newly designed PET bottles can fit into regular boxes or on palettes used for water bottle distribution, and can be joined to build solid walls. On demand, the bottles can be taken out of regular recycling circuits and redistributed – to be filled with found local materials and used as prefabricated building units to construct temporary structures or repair damaged buildings.
The United Bottle project designs a second life for an everyday product, building upon local knowledge of construction techniques, patterns of improvisation, and existing uses of consumer waste. During their fellowship term, Hebel and Stollmann will operate a publicly accessible "United Bottle laboratory" at Van Alen Institute, to be accompanied by an installation of prototypes, information, materials, building samples and catalogues that support the concept of performative research and communicate the project to a wider public.
There are more really great images on their site: http://www.united-bottle.org/