Workshop: Local Sources
[Collected Material Dwelling #002], Monterrey, México 2005


Plastic bottles are discarded all over the city of Monterrey and constitute an unused material. [Collecting System] was set up and now gathers bottles. Some were used to construct [Collected Material Dwelling #002].

The economy in the area, where [Collecting System] is set up, is based on self-employment and from collecting unused materials. These materials could be used for building temporary dwellings. The bottles also have an economic value and can be sold.

[Collected Material Dwelling #002] is set up in a peripheral zone of the city on occupied land. This land is now in the process of being brought under new regulations.


People gathered to collect bottles made out of the plastic type PET. The PET plastic is common used in production of bottles for soft drinks. These bottles are not included in the deposit system, as glass bottles are.

Laws in México for ownership to land has some “holes”, which is being used as substitute for getting ownership to land. After occupation of land for five to ten years, ownership can be proclaimed.


In many areas private companies have taken over the formal -and mainly the informal urban planning and decides the aesthetics in new neighborhoods. Leaving a percentage of space for common areas, for examples roads for connecting to the surroundings.

The economy is lead by concrete, glass, and steel, which is related to the local sources. The use of these materials is resulting in a major changing of the landscape.




People gathered in a workshop to prepare the leftover materials for construction. Material was classified by shape and size. Calculations were made to determine technical issues like width, resistance, and for the best additional methods to be used to make a low-cost construction. This part of the process was informed by the collected experience of different people. Some of them joined the workshop.





Material is classified by shape, and size afterwards calculations will helps to determinate technical issues like width, resistance, etc., and for the best method to be used in a construction. For instance, small bottles make more resistance structures using a method like sew them together making a net with steel wire. Big bottles are better to make filled with sifted sand or water to make it more stable wall, it result a material similar to concrete in strength and resistance, but in a low cost and according to use a collecting system.





Plastic bottles are sewed together into construction units. It has wires in both a vertical and a horizontal direction. This makes the bottles fixed in eight positions and more stable.





Three different methods for give stability/strength to the construction:
1. Bottles with water thigh with steel wire.
2. Bottles filled with compressed sand, gives strength similar to concrete, are more stable also helps for thermal aim.
3. Bottles and concrete, wrap with a steel net, walls can be covered with concrete and obtain a look like a regular house. This also can be useful for seal off the rain and thermal aim.
4. Drawing of a prototype for a 6 sizes construction.





The construction units are stacked on top of each other and tighten to the pillars. Each side can easily be replaced for redesigning the inner space. More modules can be added for expansion. The construction is six-sided to give it the possibility to expand in many directions.





Woven strings of bottles - construction units - are stacked on top of each other and tighten to the pillars.





The dwelling has six sides. Each side can easily be replaced for redesigning the inner space. More modules can be added for expansion.





By using the [Collecting System] the material cost of the dwelling represent approximately ten times less value in relation to an ordinary dwelling made out of concrete.










The construction is covered with concrete. The main reason is to use the local aesthetic for permanent dwellings as camouflage to secure the dwelling for damage and demolition.




[Learning Poster #003 > Collected Material Dwelling]
Archive: [Unused Materials], Monterrey, México 2004
[PET-Bottle Dwelling with Water Collecting Roof, Drawing]
[Collected Material Dwelling, #003], US 2005

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