School of Architecture & Design News
Nov 06 2013
School of Architecture & Design Launchess Competition

Old Westbury and New York (November 6, 2013) The School of Architecture and Design has launched a competition for unique designs that would incorporate crushed plastic water bottles into a combined bus shelter, recycling station, and information kiosk for NYIT’s Old Westbury campus.

design competition

The competition builds on the school’s successful Home(2)(0) project that envisions the use of crushed water bottles and plastic pallets as roofing systems for emergency shelters. Architecture faculty leaders say the new competition will take the idea to the next level by allowing students to build a full-scale prototype shelter with the roofing system to help them refine and test the design’s environmental performance.

The competition, however, relies on the entire NYIT community’s help in supplying a key building material: empty water bottles. Coca Cola has supplied NYIT with 12 red and white barrels to collect empty bottles from students and faculty across the New York campuses.

“Our project depends on our ability to collect the 16.9- and 20-ounce water bottles that people generally throw out on campus,” said Assistant Professor Farzana Gandhi. “We’re asking everyone on both campuses to drop their empty bottles in the Coke containers to ensure this project’s success.”

Design proposals for the competition are due on November 8. All student submissions will be featured on the project’s Kickstarter campaign, which is intended to raise $4,000 to help with material costs. As part of the campaign, donors will be able to vote for their favorite design from November 17 through November 25. In addition to that “people’s choice” winner, a jury also will select first, second, and third-place winners.

“Once we have a winner, we’ll use the bottles we’ve collected to build and eventually install the prototype in Old Westbury,” Gandhi said. “We envision the ability to disassemble and re-assemble it in various exhibition venues in New York City.”

The project is partially funded by a university-awarded grant. 

Part of the project involves fabricating special plastic pallets that hold crushed water bottles and allow them to be lined up and interlocked like shingles to form a weather-resistant roof. The designers want to entice pallet manufacturers to incorporate the bracketing system, known as SodaBIB, within the pallets that are used to deliver large quantities of bottled water. The SodaBIB technology has received a provisional patent.

“We’ve actually designed our own shipping pallets that pull apart and snap into roof beams that are ready to receive crushed water bottles that can then interlock, similar to Spanish tile,” said Gandhi. “Eventually, when we try to partner with pallet manufacturers, we’d essentially be giving them the design of this new pallet so they can integrate it into their supply.”

About NYIT

New York Institute of Technology (NYIT) offers 90 degree programs, including undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees, in more than 50 fields of study, including architecture and design; arts and sciences; education; engineering and computing sciences; health professions; management; and osteopathic medicine. A non-profit independent, private institution of higher education, NYIT has 13,000 students attending campuses on Long Island and Manhattan, online, and at its global campuses. NYIT sponsors 11 NCAA Division II programs and one Division I team. 

Led by President Edward Guiliano, NYIT is guided by its mission to provide career-oriented professional education, offer access to opportunity to all qualified students, and support applications-oriented research that benefits the larger world. To date, 95,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit New York Institute of Technology at

Elaine Iandoli

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