Everyday urban waste is rising and for now, all we can see for the future cities are, it would not rely on the renewable resources that we can construct in the future, but on the waste that we have generated in the past. In the world of rising pollution and population, we are now either consciously or unknowingly creating so many risks for us that it’s impossible to flip the coins right now. Land, waterways, seas, they’re all filthy, and they’re on the brink of death all because of us. From paper cartons to steel hulls wide enough to hold a variety of apartment complexes, the pollution we produce on the planet every year is breathtaking. 

We assume that architects can contribute meaning to and benefit from the design of industrial and infrastructural projects. Besides, architects are prepared to plan not only for the present but also for the future ways in which structures can be used.

Numerous examples are there, enhancing our vision of reducing and reusing the waste in architecture as an architect. A few of them are mentioned below:

1. Manav Sadhna Activity Center

Architect: Ar. Yatin Pandya
Architectural Design: YatinPandya (Footprints E.A.R.T.H.)
Site Area: 1100sq.m.

This building serves multi-purpose activity which includes an informal school for young children in the morning, instruction for adults in the evening, and serves as a technical training center and workshop for the development of handicraft goods by women and the elderly during the day. This center was built as a demonstration of the indigenously designed and locally generated building elements processed by the recycling of domestic and municipal waste.

There are various spaces and elements in the building that show the use of waste in the construction which includes, residue bricks, glass bottles, soil brick, plastic bottle brick, fly ash brick, wooden crate in the wall. Various materials like Fibre Reinforced Door, Wooden crate and Oil Crate Door, Bicycle Gears, and Tyres were used in door openings. Even the roof material was taken into account and was created using Filler Slab with Clay Bowls, E-Waste, Corrugated Galvanized sheets, Glass Bottle, Fly ash, Plastic bottle, Cement Particle Board.

Manav Sadhna Activity Center - Sheet1
Manav Sadhna Activity Center ©worldarchitecture.org
Manav Sadhna Activity Center - Sheet2
Manav Sadhna Activity Center ©worldarchitecture.org
Manav Sadhna Activity Center - Sheet3
Manav Sadhna Activity Center ©worldarchitecture.org

2. Solar Bytes Pavilion 

Date: 2014
Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

Pavilion of Solar Bytes was planned by an assistant Professor at Kent Brian Peters State University, this provisional arrangement highlights the promise of emerging technology techniques available for use in Architecture: robotic weapons, 3D printing, smart technology such as light sensors, and solar electricity. The basic shape of the pavilion takes the form of a catenary arch, which is then extruded to create a barrel vault. The vault is then skewed marginally from the north to the south to assist with the general integrity of the pavilion. The vault was then placed to follow the direction of the sun, stretching from east to west to enhance sunlight visibility to solar-powered lamps. The Solar Bytes Pavilion creates a very strong and fascinating play of light as well as an enticing work of art for tourists and passers-by.

The design studio explains: “if it is cloudy in the morning and clear in the afternoon, the pavilion’s east side will be illuminated for a shorter period than the west side, reflecting those environmental conditions.” 

After their initial work, the plastic modules that make up the pavilion will be fully crushed and reused in a new build.

Solar Bytes Pavilion - Sheet1
Solar Bytes Pavilion ©architectmagazine.com
Solar Bytes Pavilion - Sheet2
Solar Bytes Pavilion ©architectmagazine.com
Solar Bytes Pavilion - Sheet3
Solar Bytes Pavilion ©architectmagazine.com

3. Plastic House 

Date: 2009
Architect: Architecture Republic
Location: Ireland

The project starts with the elimination of the current extensions, interior walls, and earth – squeezing the whole building level to the lower ground floor. This will open the volume of the house as a double-height vessel, and pour the light in. The insertion is made of polycarbonate and steel. It is a lightweight structure. It is also the primary source of light in the evening – the inset fittings activate its translucency. Surfaces to illuminate the spaces created above, below, and between them, it’s an element and its container.

Plastic House - Sheet1
Plastic House ©www.e-architect.com
Plastic House - Sheet2
Plastic House ©www.e-architect.com
Plastic House - Sheet3
Plastic House ©www.e-architect.com

4. Parasite House

Date: 2011
Architect: za bor architects – Arseniy Borisenko and Peter Zaytsev
Location: Moscow, Russia

A notable characteristic in many parts of Moscow is the inclusion of multi-story buildings with blind end walls and large passageways between them. This project allows for the use of free spaces within buildings for the construction of original and economic offices that do not obstruct access to the courtyard. The house is made of polycarbonate, a material that is recyclable and retains a very high strength. Polycarbonate is very solid, rendering it less impact-resistant, entirely recyclable, and made from a renewable resource (oil) that offers excellent yields for plastic recycling facilities. 

Parasite House - Sheet1
Parasite House ©www.archdaily.com
Parasite House - Sheet2
Parasite House ©www.archdaily.com
Parasite House - Sheet3
Parasite House ©www.archdaily.com

5. The Governor

Location: Rotterdam, the Netherlands

This townhouse is made up of 15 tonnes of waste and rubble, including ceramics, glass, and clay. For the bricks, StoneCycling – a firm specialized in bricks manufactured from reclaimed materials was contacted in an attempt to divert building waste. Further, this dutch company has collected waste products from all over the country, ground them, and made them into bricks. The firm has recycled about 15 tonnes of waste, from ceramic to glass and clay, to produce caramel-toned bricks for the project. Various rejected materials were collected from a 100-mile area of the Netherlands to construct this four-story house sustainably.

The Governor - Sheet1
The Governor ©www.dezeen.com
The Governor - Sheet2
The Governor ©www.dezeen.com
The Governor - Sheet3
The Governor ©www.dezeen.com

6. Collage house

Location: New Mumbai

The project follows up the theme of recycling and collage in a variety of ways. The façade of this structure was created with the magnificent composition of old demolished doors and windows. In contrast with the rustic look in the exteriors, the interior of the building is with an exposed concrete roof along with polished white tiles on the floor. It plays out this distinction between the old and the modern, the conventional and the contemporary, the rough and the done. The reused materials like old textile blocks, Flooring out of old Burma teak rafters and purlins, colonial furniture, fabric waste, etc are positively contributing to the language of the house.

Collage house - Sheet1
Collage house © www.designpataki.com
Collage house - Sheet2
Collage house © www.designpataki.com
Collage house - Sheet3
Collage house © www.designpataki.com

7. Cabana Floripa

Location: Florianopolis, Brazil

This treehouse on the island of Santa Catarina, Brazil, was constructed from the remains of the demolished buildings, the builder told Inhabitat. Construction materials used include glass bottles, painted wood beams, and ceramic tiles.

As a result, Jaime started to create new homes using materials otherwise known to be waste, including glass, destruction of wood, pottery remains, and bottles used. The bathroom is just as bold and vibrant as the rest of the place. Note the beautiful color pops produced by the old glass bottles used to cover the sink. Here, old bottles used glass, and pieces of thrown-out pottery become one with the lush greenery.

Cabana Floripa - Sheet1
Cabana Floripa ©inhabitat.com
Cabana Floripa - Sheet2
Cabana Floripa ©inhabitat.com
Cabana Floripa - Sheet3
Cabana Floripa ©inhabitat.com

8. Container Guest House

Architect: Poteet Architects
Location: Florianopolis, Brazil

Poteet Architects is best known for its responsive innovative re-use of old buildings and its new, systematic approach to contemporary interior design. T This idea arose from the wish of the client of Poteet Architects to play with shipping containers. The focus was put on environmental strategies—first, the disposal of one-way” containers for new and permanent use. The concept was informed by other creative material choices: the container “floats” based on reclaimed telephone poles. The deck consists of HVAC equipment pads (made of discarded soda bottles) set in a steel frame. 

Container Guest House - Sheet1
Container Guest House © www.ubergizmo.com
Container Guest House - Sheet2
Container Guest House © www.ubergizmo.com
Container Guest House - Sheet3
Container Guest House © www.ubergizmo.com

9. Swachha, Bangalore

This is an NGO based project where a Bengaluru-based non-profit Swachha has to turn recycled plastic waste into tiles and irrigation pipes. Swachha has created what they call ‘Re-Tile’—the tiles that consumers can use on the pavement, such as wall tiles, apartment walkways, and swimming pools because of their lightweight.

These floor tiles are made of recycled polypropylene (PP) materials and use a special interlocking edge pattern to reduce the need for adhesives, making installation simple and cheap. The tiles are non-porous, resilient, and sturdy. 

Swachha, Bangalore - Sheet1
Swachha © www.thebetterindia.com
Swachha, Bangalore - Sheet2
Swachha © www.thebetterindia.com

10. Greenhouse

Structure with walls and roofs made primarily of a translucent material such as glass or plastic, in which plants requiring controlled climatic conditions are grown. These facilities vary in scale from small sheds to commercial buildings. A miniature greenhouse is known as a cold structure. The interior of the greenhouse, which is open to the sunshine, is much colder than the exterior air temperature, shielding its contents in cold weather.

Greenhouse ©Pinterest

A lot of people still neglect the secret existence of garbage. While, it’s easy to feel hopeless in the present scenario of waste, but it doesn’t have to be challenging. Instead, it’s just about making incremental adjustments to and the amount of waste we generate.


Divya Singh Rathore is a graduate in Architecture who believes in learning through exploration. For her, architecture is creative freedom and a way to connect to the people. She wants to amalgamate her passion for writing with her architectural practice and share it with the world.