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Oct 17 2012

Raising Funds to Raise the Roof: NYIT Architects Seek Roofing Project Donors

SodaBIB water bottle roof

Old Westbury and Manhattan, N.Y.  (October 17, 2012) --  A team of New York Institute of Technology School of Architecture professors and students has launched a fundraising campaign to construct a model of their patented water bottle roofing system that could provide emergency shelter in developing countries.
With a goal of raising $32,500 by November 15, the team opened a social media fundraising drive on the platform Kickstarter. The Kickstarter page features a two-minute explanatory video narrated by Brian Strydom (BA, ’12). Donations through Kickstarter would fund the materials and labor to build a model of the water bottle roof at NYIT’s Old Westbury campus. A portion of the funds would pay for a video production about the process and printed materials for future investors.sodaBIB pallet
“When we reach our fundraising goal and build the full-scale model, students and visitors will immediately understand the concept of upcycling, or changing what some consider waste materials into a higher and better use  ΜΆ  in this case, shelters for poor nations hit by disasters,” said School of Architecture Assistant Professor Jason Van Nest
The roof is constructed with discarded water bottles that are crushed, overlapped, and offset like shingles. A key element of the system is the SodaBIB, or Soda Bottle Interface Bracket, which aligns the bottles. Van Nest, Associate Professor Michele Bertomen, and Assistant Professor Farzana Gandhi worked with students to design the bracket last year, and NYIT received a provisional patent for the device.  The NYIT team later determined the bracket could be manufactured as part of the plastic pallets that companies use to deliver their bottled beverages around the world.  After delivery, the pallets could be disassembled and used as roofing sections to hold the brackets and cut bottles.
The prototype would allow the NYIT team to demonstrate how the roof works and to start initiating partnerships with businesses that manufacture the plastic pallets.
“We hope to partner with pallet manufacturers and from there, work with their contacts and distribution channels,” said Van Nest, recent winner of a Presidential Technology Award recognizing his work on a computer program central to creating the roofing system. “Our project is a process, not a product.”
Campaign donors of various levels will receive rewards of jewelry or keychains designed by Bertomen and fashioned from cut-away pieces of the prototype pallet. 
"We look forward to sharing these jewelry pieces with our friends -- both as a way to help others literally OWN a piece of this important project, and as a symbol of reuse and conservation that marks an ecologically sensitive consumer," the team wrote on its Kickstarter page.
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 14,000 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, more than 92,000 graduates have received degrees from NYIT. For more information, visit
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