The Barrier of Plastic

How choose an envelope to protect us from the outside, stable enough and that allows us to be more efficient ecologically?

Hi, my main goal when I write in this medium (the best, no doubt) is to analyse the materials and the construction systems already existing (or in process of existence) in an desire to find the elements with that I will carry out an elegant building, which already is shaping in my brain, I clarify it because someone told me on one occasion to speak of this or which element: I, Rodolfo, choose my battles and, hence, also my materials.

Another condition is the place where I will manufacture: an island by choose. Thus, I spend part of my time to find this island and, although I’ve seen some of the best and many to choose the site more paradisiacal in the World, I have not decided yet. This week, I posed my eyes (and then my feet) on the island of Guadalupe, which belongs to the archipelago of the same name and in it is wheel the series «Death in Paradise», a Franco-British production that bored me a bit (the truth ahead).

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EcoARK in Taipei, Polli-Brick built.

It is no secret that one of the most important elements of a building is its envelope, whose vertical walls are normally formed with bricks. Combining this with the current concern by the Ecology (sometimes excessive), there are many experiences and products that try to build «ecological envelopes», it is not just a matter of making a sustainable building, it is, too, to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible. In this regard exist various types of «ecological bricks», I am much excited with this discovery, and I share my views.

I discovered the first when I spent a few days in Taipei, specifically at the Taipei Grand Hotel, walking, I found this building whose envelope is made up of plastic bricks, the creative company (MiniWiz Sustainable Energy Development Co.) has called Polli-Brick (built with polyethylene terephthalate) and I have called it otherwise: the plastic barrier. The reason for the avant-garde construction was the Flora Expo 2010 held in the city, his sponsor Far Eastern Group provided $ 4.22 million dollars (3.78 million euros) to cover an area of 2,000 square meters where to celebrate fashion shows and various exhibitions.

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EcoARK in Taipei, Polli-Brick built.

The work, designed by Arthur Huang, employed 1.5 million plastic bottles to make bricks, however, the amazing thing is that it only took two weeks to collect this huge amount of useful. The construction is based on foundations of reinforced concrete of which rises a metal structure, in which it is supported the bricks of 30 cm by 17 completely hollow. The manufacturing process was relatively easy, the bottles were collected, it cut into smaller pieces, cleaned and merged again with the final form.

The best of this building, as well as having natural ventilation despite not have a single window, is that it is easily mountable and detachable. The bricks are transparent and translucent, avoiding these last ones that you can see from the outside but allowing the passage of the light. It is distributed in three floors reaching a height of 26 meters, the weight per square metre is 72 kg (includes steel structure) front of the 400 kg that would weigh a traditional brick wall or 150 a wall of ceramic brick. It has 40,000 (always led) LED bulbs that give it a very curious aspect in the night, in addition, these «containers» can be filled with sand, water or anything else that will give it a greater protection according to the climatology of the place.

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EcoARK in Taipei, Polli-Brick built.

The name of the Pavilion is Ecoark, and its facade can endure 280 degrees Celsius before the fusion, enough time for you escape from a fire. The enclosure is capable of generate energy for its own consumption through wind and solar systems, cannot generate enough for the air conditioning, but this has not prevented that have the classification Leed Platinum. The Mega-structures (from National Geographic) series dedicated an entire episode, I had not done, is no doubt that the design and construction are very original, but does not seem to resolve the problem of the overproduction of plastic, or its need of recycling.

The designers tell us, that these plastic modules are a sample of what we can do with the waste of this kind, and that, with this solution, can be performed in the future buildings whose use is residential. Only time will tell, as benefits are that is 100 percent recyclable, that can withstand earthquakes and typhoons, that its form (as if they were bee panels) is very simple and ingenious. But it is also true that it have a limited appearance, obviously you could cover of paint but… not change too.

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EcoARK in Taipei, Polli-Brick built.

The PET (polyethylene terephthalate) is a plastic formable very used as packaging in the food industry (drinks, edible oils…) and in the cosmetics or pharmaceuticals industry. Its ability to adapt to any shape and support with only 20 percent of its weight on its content has earned the majority of manufacturers in the world. It is durable, lightweight, inert content, permeable, recyclable and consumes little power for its transformation. As handicap is not biodegradable, and, being so cheap, it has been overexploited while the most people are not aware of the environmental damage caused when are thrown in our habitat. Fortunately, that is changing very rapidly.

The sincerity is comforting, I will tell you that I don’t see future to these plastic bricks, at least not in my future construction, but if liked me the introducing a cascade of water in the building, this cascade serves to cool the environment taking advantage the rain, what a great idea! Anyway I have a «winning streak» and I’ve found other «ecological bricks», would you like to know which? You will have to wait for I tell you. Bye bye.

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EcoARK in Taipei, Polli-Brick built.

Disclosure: The characters that appear in this article, their different personalities and their relationships with each other and with the environment are part of a fiction. The author is not responsible for the views expressed in the article and has no business relationship with any of the companies listed on it.

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