Brilliant solutions come out when people are in deep need. Tateh Lehbib Braica, a 27 years old engineer, born and raised in the Algerian desert has been suffering all type of inclemency: 50 degrees’ temperature, sandstorms and heavy rains. For four decades ago, this inhospitable region has been home to the Saharan refugees who have been hardly living in mud houses with zinc roofs.
The nicknamed “crazy man of the bottles”, Tateh, has found an allied in the PET plastic bottles which are carried away to nowhere throughout the desert. Firstly, he built this innovative shelter for his grandmother and it worked.
There are several considerable advantages of Tateh’s houses. Since the walls must be solid barriers against the tough ecosystem, they are made of plastic bottles filled with sand, cement and a mixture of straw and earth, as insulation. Each house needs 6000 bottles and four people’s workforce during one week.
The circular shape fulfils two major purposes. On one hand, it avoids sand dunes to gather around the house. Secondly, the round shape of the walls painted in white, significantly reduces until a 90% the impact of the sun’s rays. The double roof with a gap for ventilation and the two windows built at different height allow airflows which achieve a five degrees’ lower temperature inside than the traditional shelters.
Graduated in Renewable Sources of the University of Algiers and after having finished a Master in Energy Efficiency of the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Tateh conceived this idea in 2016, after the great flood. The project has been recognized by international organizations such as Acnur and there are 25 new houses planed to be build and offered to people with disabilities, mental disorders or especially vulnerable families.
The collection of bottles has represented a small economic incentive for the volunteers and helped to increase awareness about the new uses of the plastic waste. The characteristics of this omnipresent material, such as its durability and flexibility are used for more and more varied purposes and areas, from architecture to design, such as PET Lamp project which reveals new aesthetics and functional aspects of the PET plastic bottles.
More info and source: El País