Talk about up-cycling. More than 2,000 plastic ice cream containers were recycled into the porous, translucent facade of the Taman Bima Microlibrary in Bandung, Indonesia.
Designed by the architects at SHAU Bandung, the 1,700-square-foot structure was built above an existing stage, protecting the platform—which is often used by the local community for gatherings and events—from rain and sun.
The plastic-and-steel building was designed to be an easily accessible space for reading and learning, promoting literacy in the neighborhood. It had to be made of durable, cheap materials but also be a place the locals would seek out to spend time.
Simple steel I-beams were used for the pillars as well as the horizontal and vertical supports. The floor and roof are concrete slabs. The stair leading up to the library is also steel.
When the architects went looking for an affordable and translucent facade material, they soon settled on white plastic ice cream buckets. With a bit of experimentation, they discovered that cutting out the bottom of some buckets produced a natural ventilation system for the building while opening it up to the outside.
Bolted between vertical steel slats, the orientation of the buckets (whether facing inward or out) also spells out a hidden message coded in binary: "buku adalah jendela dunia" or, books are the windows to the world.