Lab testing of the bottle wall technique

The past week we have been construction a bottle wall in a structural engineering lab at Aalto University. The wall has been constructed with the purpose to test the load bearing capacity of the technology, for the team to gain hands-on knowledge and to record material for an instructional video.


We started to collect the necessary material for the construction of the wall: plastic water bottles, sand, cement and plastic string. We also bought some tools and protective clothing: wooden sticks to stick the bottles, gloves and protective masks. Tools to mix and apply the cement where provided at the lab space as well as a spirit level to check that the wall is straight.



When all the material was collected we started stacking the bottles. It took us approximately 2 days to fill all of them (320) and we refined our staking technique quite a bit during the work. When we started we calculated that one bottle took more or less 10 min but by the end we had managed to refine our skills so much that it only took us 3 min per bottle!

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When all the bottles where stacked we started to build the wall. With the help of the workshop personell and a stuctural engineering student called Johanna we decided to build it between to fictional pillars and to stack the bottles diagonally instead of one on top of the other. The construction with the bottles took approximately 1,5 days, taking into consideration that we were very slow in the beginning before we learned properly.

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4. TA DA! 🙂

We learned a lot during the construction and where very glad that we took the time and effort to construct the wall to gain some more hands on konowledge about this technique. One thing we  had miscalculated was the use of cement for a 1,25 m x 1 m wall. In the middle of the construction we had to rush out to get more material to be able to continue the construction. Finally, though, we had a finished wall standing there proudly and we even managed to write a message in the wall. Can you see what is written there? 😉


Stay tuned to find out how the wall reacts when loaded with weight during the upcoming week!

Thank you so much to everyone who made this construction and testing possible!

Laboratory engineers:
– Veli-Antti Hakala
– Keijo Hanhirova
– Jukka Piiroinen
– All other laboratory personel!

Stacking bottles and sharing expertize:
– Zita Floret (from the saniation project…)
– Johanna Mero (structural engineer)
– Anni Valkola (From the previous years Chamazi project group)
– Elisa Andretti (From the previous years Chamazi project group)

Material donation or advice:
– Palpa (Donating 320 plastic bottles)
– Rudus (Donating 3 cubic metres of sand)
– K-rauta (offering advice about cement + a discount)

Presentation and networking with Architects without borders (ASF)

In mid November Amanda was invited to Gotheburg´s local chapter of Architects without borders (ASF) to hold a presentation about our community centre project in Chamazi. ASF is an international organisation working with different projects very similar to ours all around the world, including Tanzania.

Webpage to the local chapter:
Webpage to the international site:

The presentation was held in the architecture office Okidoki Arkitekter in central Gothenbug. There were about 15 to 20 persons in the audience and some of them were active members in the association while others were just interested to know more about the organisation. They all seemed very interested in our project and after the presentation I got to talk to two girls working on a project on Zanzibar constructing a self sufficient cantine for S.O.S child villages, called Green Canteen. We decided to keep contact and to exchange knowledge during our projects since we are very much in the same situation!