NYIT Students Turn Plastic Bottles Into Disaster Relief

Last week’s devastating typhoon in the Philippines has reminded designers of the ongoing challenge of creating safe, temporary shelters when natural disasters hit. Crates of food and water are some of the first types of aid delivered to these ravaged areas; so what if these resources could be designed to also provide shelter and minimize waste? The New York Institute of Technology’s School of Architecture asked just that question and came up with a solution: SodaBIB, a new type of shipping pallet that would allow commonly used plastic bottles to be used for shelter.

Courtesy of The HOME₂O Team

The team just launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a full-scale shelter using their patented water bottle roofing system: the roof is constructed with discarded water bottles that are crushed, overlapped, and offset like Spanish tiles. The bottles are then aligned and attached to roof structure using the shipping pallet, which disassembles into linear Soda Bottle Interface Brackets or SodaBIBS.

Courtesy of The HOME₂O Team

With a goal of raising $4,000 by November 26, the team’s Kickstarter campaign, which features a two-minute explanatory video and a construction manual that shows how the system works, offers some fun perks: project backers can vote for their favorite proposal and winners of the Public Vote will be guaranteed a spot on the construction team.

Courtesy of The HOME₂O Team

“When we reach our fundraising goal and build the full-scale shelter, students and visitors will immediately understand the concept of up-cycling, or changing what some consider waste materials into a higher and better use — in this case, shelters for poor nations hit by disasters,” says Jason Van Nest, Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture.

Courtesy of The HOME₂O Team

Recently, NYIT has seen enough value in the idea to award it a modest construction budget as an institutional grant. The Kickstarter campaign aims to build on this momentum, and create a prototype to introduce the invention to the world. “This prototype will bring us one step closer to real world deployment,” says Farzana Gandhi, Assistant Professor of Architecture at NYIT. She continues, “Demonstrating how the system works is key and allows us to initiate partnerships with pallet manufacturers so that thousands can be reached at relief sites using the methods of distribution they already have in place.”

Courtesy of The HOME₂O Team

Check out the project on Kickstarter, where you’ll learn more about the team and the project. Read more at Home2O.org and at SodaBIB.org, and follow along on Facebook and Twitter.

Cite: Baldwin, Eric. "NYIT Students Turn Plastic Bottles Into Disaster Relief" 16 Nov 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed 25 May 2015. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=449212>
  • Luis Carrasco

    An issue to consider could be that in this kind of emergencies plastic bottles are scarcely delivered. Mobile water plants are usually deployed and drinkable water is served in 15/20 l. reusable jerrycans instead. I’m afraid plastic tarpaulins will keep on being a fast and practical resource for shelter in the first steps of an emergency.

  • إبراهيم ال قاسم


  • إبراهيم ال قاسم

    مشروع مدينة تقنية المعلومات والاتصالات

  • YH shin

    Can’t they deserve more than plastic bottle house?

  • Sudar Khadka

    if people had enough resources to put up the wooden house frame that would support this roof, then they would not need to use plastic bottles as a roof anyway. A corrugated GI roof would be simpler and cheaper to install

    Lastly, it seems that this design would also blow over in another typhoon. Its not uncommon to have 2 or 3 typhoons in one month in the Philippines.

  • aaaguila

    it will have other uses

  • Nono

    Gimmick. Leaks, labor intensive, useless. Seriously NYIT?