Monday, March 28, 2011



by Kevin Stoda

Since I arrived last summer in Taiwan for the first time in nearly 2 decades, I have been impressed by the society’s almost revolutionary change towards the environment and in attitudes towards recycling. One green product made from recycled plastic wastes here are Polli-Bricks. Such Polli-Bricks were originally created by MINIWIZ, a sustainable development firm, which focuses on energy, biodesigns, and recycling. The advert on the company’s website says of the Polli-Brick: “Your Trash, Our ECO Building Material.”

A POLLI-Brick is a “recycled polymer bottle that can be interlocked to build an incredible array of structures”. It is made from recycled PET bottles, the lightweight bricks offer excellent acoustic and thermal insulation and can build anything from fences and roofs to pots for plants, skylights and beautiful walls of light.”

In 2010, the enormous EcoArk Pavilion was created for a major international exhibition in Taipei. The building is currently featured in a National Geographic special which shines a light on the world’s “Modern Wonders”.

“The Eco Ark pavilion is hailed as a new benchmark for the future of green buildings and a spectacular showpiece for the Taipei International Flora Expo.” The designers have adhered “to the mantra of ‘Reduce, Reuse and Recycle’, the nine-storey high Eco Ark Pavilion is built largely out of recycled plastic bottles. It weighs 50 percent less than a conventional building, yet it is strong enough to withstand the forces of nature, including fire!”

Taiwan is already one of the world’s biggest recyclers of plastic bottles. “According to the group, the inspiration for the EcoARK came from the large number of plastic bottles recycled in Taiwan every year — totaling 90,000 metric tons — the equivalent of 4.5 billion 600 ml bottles.”
According to Inhabitat, an online magazine which focuses on contemporary designs which “will save the world” has noted:
“’EcoARK is the world’s lightest, movable, breathable environmental miracle,’ said Douglas Hsu, Chairman of the Far Eastern Group. Though POLLI-Bricks have been used here [in Taiwan] on a grand scale in the EcoARK they can be used to make anything from a vase to a garden wall to a house. Just a small amount of silicone is placed between the bricks to make a bond between their specially designed interlocking structure.”

The same Inhabitat authors conclude, “The 130 meter long structure is completely deconstructable — it can be taken apart and reassembled at another location, kind of like a giant LEGO building. To top off the eco-cred the building was engineered to withstand large earthquakes and typhoons. Sounds like Taipei will be able to repurpose this building for a long time to come.”

The Taipei International Flora Expo will only continue into mid- April 2011, so hurry if you wish to see the EcoArk in its current location!



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