Thai Glass House – clever solutions from Thailand, part 3

In areas where resources are low and technology is scarce, people are often more resourceful than in highly industrialized and ‘developed’ areas. We can learn a lot from these low-cost, simple, effective and often very sustainable solutions.

In Europe most packaging waste is recycled into new materials or burned to generate energy. In Thailand glass bottles were cleaned and used as colorful bricks for a very remarkable temple, giving the words ‘glass house ‘a completely new meaning. It is a good example of upcycling, assuming all glass materials were used before they were turned into building blocks.

Glass house Thailand

picture by J. Timmers

Temple of glass bottles

picture by J. Timmers

Decorative glass bottle elements

Picture by J.Timmers

It made me think of Heineken’s World Bottle (WOBO), conceived by Alfred Heineken in 1963 after he visited Curacao, where there was a lot of glass waste but few good houses. The WOBO was a bottle, shaped like a brick. A great concept that was never put into mass production (‘only’ 100.000 pieces were made).

Heineken's World Bottle glass brick

Heineken’s WOBO, made to build with.

Wall made from Heineken bottles

In the Heineken Museum in Amsterdam this wall, constructed of WOBO glass bottles, is one ot the only remains of the WOBO project.

Also watch this video about Heineken’s WOBO.


Glass is such a beautiful material. There are few materials that play with light as glass can, and it can be recycled endlessly…

Written by Jop Timmers

Jop is the founder of Design for Good, experienced product designer, innovation manager, author, sustainability expert, was trained as a C2C design consultant in 2009 and was a part time product design teacher for 9 years. He is passionate about sustainable and social innovation.

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