Recycling discarded materials into new buildings and adapting disused structures to new uses is not just about sustainability – it is also about savvy innovation and stylish adaptation. Some architects build modular wonders from existing units (such as shipping containers). Others draw from recycled, found and local materials (or entire old buildings) to create aesthetically amazing designs that brilliantly blend old and new.
Recycled Glass Bottle Buddhist Monastery
What can a group of rural monks hundreds of miles outside of Bangkok do to help the environment and build a beautiful temple all in a single stroke of architectural genius? Local residents helped these religious devotees collect over a million colored glass bottles that were then used to create everything outside and within the monastic complex – from the walls and roofs to the decorative interior mosaics of this amazing building of worship and meditation. Glistening in the light and arranged in patterns one would hardly know from a distance that the structure was built from anything but the finest of custom-made materials.
The Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew temple is about 400 miles northeast of Bangkok in the city of Khun Han close to the Cambodian border. Using Heineken bottles (green) and Chang Beer bottles (brown) the monks were able to clean up the local pollution and create a useful structure that will be a visual reminder to the scope of pollution and the potential we can make with limber minds.
Plastic Bottle Exhibition Hall
The innovative and very impressive EcoARK in Taiwan is a monument to recycling.
The three-story tall building, complete with an amphitheater and exhibition hall, was constructed using 1.5 million plastic bottles. Embedded solar power helps to run the building’s magnificent LED light displays at night.
Grain Silo Bed & Breakfast
Abbey Road Farm Bed & Breakfast has all the ingredients of a great low-key getaway: It sits on 82 lush, green acres, is fully stocked with luxurious linens and comfortable chairs for reading and cuddling and even has Jacuzzi tubs. Did we also mention that it’s built using huge, re-purposed corn silos?
The Carlton, Ore. bed and breakfast features five circular suites with a lobby and parlor and boasts concrete floors with radiant heat and foam insulation in the walls that render the inn’s utility bills practically non-existent.
Water Tower Townhouse
The best part about this outrageous water tower townhouse is that you can actually rent it.
The West London water tower home is owned by British furniture designer Tom Dixon, who purchased the 60-foot water tower and the surrounding land in 2005. This repurposed water tower dwelling located in North Kensington, London is outfitted to meet strict eco-friendly standards, offers amazing views of a world-class city and, most amazingly, is that it includes three private rooms for rent via Airbnb starting at $209 per night.
Junked Jet Estate
A home in the remote hills of Malibu, Calif. was built using an unconventional waste material; an old Boeing 747 aircraft.
Aptly named “Wing House,” the home uses both of the plane’s wings for the majority of its roof, while the tail section’s two stabilizers make up the roof for the master bedroom.
Other buildings are planned for the 55-acre property, and architect David Hertz intends to use every part of the 747 in their design. An art studio, guest house and animal barn will be fashioned out of pieces of the plane’s fuselage, and a meditation pavilion will be constructed using the entire front of the airplane, with the cockpit windows forming a skylight.
Sea Fort Resort
Upcyling out-of-use structures for modern day needs is nothing new. But when we saw this design-centric repurposing of a decommissioned British sea fort, we knew we had to get a closer look.
Located one mile outside Portsmouth Harbor in Hampshire, England, the mid-Victorian Spitbank Fort sat vacant for decades until it was reborn as a luxury island destination that’s making headlines in the U.K. and beyond.