Their idea to reuse water bottles as roofing materials supports environmentalism, sustainability, and the idea of architects helping society.
Professors Jason Van Nest and Farzana Gandhi will present their research on the bottle roofing project at a lecture featuring the work of NYIT students on Thursday, Sept. 22 at NYIT Gallery 61.
The “Thatch for a New Century” presentation will include demonstrations of computer software used to develop roofing models, prototype roofs, and the plastic bracket the professors invented to connect bottles into roofing sections.
Van Nest and Gandhi, working under the direction of Associate Professor Michele Bertomen, received a provisional patent earlier this year for the bracket, known as the Soda Bottle-Interface-Bracket, or SodaBIB. The SodaBIB connects the bottles, which nest on top of each other and are layered to allow water to flow freely off the roof. Last summer, the professors worked with 20 architecture students from Old Westbury and Manhattan to test design ideas, research roofing issues, and build small prototype SodaBIB roofs. A website, www.sodabib.com
, includes pictures and descriptions of their work.
Van Nest said the team will seek grants to build larger prototypes, construct a life-size shelter with a BIB roof, and engage large-scale manufacturing ideas for the BIB. The efforts, he said, might lead to partnerships with relief organizations that deploy shelters in disaster areas or developing nations. As the professors envision it, every part of the large pallets of water delivered to areas in need can be used to construct a roof. The empty bottles can be cut and positioned on sections of a pre-divided pallet, while remaining pallet sections are used to reinforce the roof structure.
“This is one way architecture can do something good for the environment,” Van Nest said. “We're making plastic, a material that's detrimental to the environment, somehow sustainable. If this can raise the bar and contribute to an expectation that consumer goods are supposed to have at least two lifecyles, we’d have quite a victory on our hands.”
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