Lawyer Turned Architect Builds Recycled Homes for People in Need, Will Travel to Haiti

House from Recycled Plastic Bottles in Bolivia Photo

Photos: BBC Mundo.

We've seen houses from recycled PET bottles and even massive homes with glass bottles, though they are usually just a rare experiment by their owners. Not in this case: Bolivian lawyer turned architect Ingrid Vaca Diez helps people in need to build their own homes with recycled materials that, apart from plastic bottles, involve whatever material is available, including expired powder milk and even horse manure. Her project has been so successful that she's being sent to Haiti. Learn more inside.It all began with a request from a little neighbor girl who wanted a room of her own and a lot of accumulated PET bottles in her patio. When her husband said, "Get rid of them, you've got enough for a house," Ingrid Vaca Diez thought, "Yeah, that's it."

And so she began building homes with plastic bottles and recycled materials, but not just as a fun hobby, but as a real alternative for people in need.

Ingrid Vaca Diez Working on a Plastic Bottles House in Bolivia

She has already built six of them in Warnes, a town in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia; and she's now gone regional with her first house in Roldan, a town in Santa Fe province, Argentina.

Given the nature of her initiative, the Organization of American States has invited her to travel to Haiti in May to participate in the discussion about the reconstruction of the country, hit by a devastating earthquake on January 12.

Ingrid Vaca Diez Working on a Plastic Bottles House in Bolivia

According to BBC Mundo (via TuVerde), a 170 sq meters (1829 sq feet) takes about 36 thousand bottles (about 81 per sq meter), which are bonded with concrete and a sort of net (pic above).

The bottles are filled with discarded materials or sand, and here's the fun part: the coating is done with a mixture from more discarded materials. Vaca Diez told BBC Mundo she uses a combination of "expired powder milk, horse manure, linseed oil, cattle blood, cane molasses... whatever." Floor? Chopped rubber from tires.

Once the bottles are filled a house can be ready in 15 days.

Ingrid Vaca Diez with People from her neighborhood in Bolivia Photo

Even if you're not into the crafty look of the usual bottles houses, these look very good (see the orange above) and the fact that they're actually a functional, easy and cheap alternative for providing people with homes is something to take into account.

The lawyer doesn't have a website, but if you want to know more about the project contact her at ingridvacadiez at hotmail dot com.

More Homes with Recycled Materials:
Off-Grid House Made Of Recycled Steel Goes Anywhere
Wing House from Recycled 747 Jet Airplane
Guy Builds Massive House with Recycled Glass Bottles, Teaches you How to Do It

Related Content on