MBOISA: Bottles become building material thanks to their modular design

Bottle2Build Schools is a South African initiative that upcycles modular bottles to address the shortage of classrooms in the country.

The lack of adequate infrastructure, especially in relation to education, is a persistent problem in South Africa. It is also a problem with far-reaching consequences because an uneducated population is one that struggles to break the cycle of poverty. Doing their part to address this issue, Bottle2Build Schools designed a modular bottle that can be upcycled to form the perfect, low-cost building material for the construction of classrooms.

The modular-shaped bottle begins its life as a beverage container before it becomes a sustainable building material. Each bottle is specially designed to interconnect and, when inserted into a steel frame, form a strong, stable wall ideal for building classrooms. The bottle, and the initiative that uses it was nominated as the Most Beautiful Object In South Africa 2016 (MBOISA) because as its nominator, radio and TV personality Gareth Cliff explains: it’s designed well, it’s beautiful, and it’s functional.

“I think the Bottle 2 Build is a beautiful object in South Africa because it is this marvellous intersection between use and form and functionality,” says Cliff.

According to Bottle 2 Build’s Keith Petitt, the initiative aims to kill two birds with one stone. “We are saving the environment by keeping plastic out of the ground,” he says. “It’s also a community upliftment initiative because by getting these bricks back per client, we’re putting 35 cents back in their building fund.”