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Six DIY Glass Houses Built from Bottles

People who live in glass houses often just had a lot of bottles around, and in a sort of DIY-Philip Johnson style, constructed a transparent, fragile fortress. From an embalming fluid bottle house in Canada to a beer bottle temple in Thailand, here are six of the world’s strangest bottle buildings. Just don’t maliciously throw any heavy stones while you’re around.

BOSWELL EMBALMING BOTTLE HOUSE
Boswell, Canada 

article-imagephotograph by TilJ/Wikimedia

With around 500,000 used embalming fluid bottles, David H. Brown turned his retirement from the funeral business into an incredible iridescent building project. The Embalming Bottle House in Boswell, Canada, is a small, cheery cottage started in 1952 that used the old death preservative containers from Brown’s business like bricks, including a little gazebo even overlooking the neighboring lake. 

article-imagephotograph by TilJ/Wikimedia

WAT PA MAHA CHEDI KAEW
Si Kaeo, Thailand

article-imagephotograph by Mark Fischer/Flickr

Seeing beer bottles strewn around the area and in an effort to encourage recycling, the monks of Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew started to build. Beginning in 1984, they accumulated the Heineken green and Chang brown beer bottles and embedded around 1.5 million of them into a Temple of a Million Bottles. From there, they kept constructing, taking in all that people would bring them, and now they boast glass and beer bottle cap mosaic-covered water towers, housing, and even a crematorium. 

article-imagephotograph by Mark Fischer/Flickr

article-imagephotograph by Mark Fischer/Flickr

BOTTLE HOUSE OF GANJA
Ganja, Azerbaijan

article-imagephotograph by gragimli/Flickr

You might not notice anything immediately strange about the Bottle House in Ganja, Azerbaijan, while strolling by, but look a bit closer and it’s revealed the patterns on the exterior walls are all made from bottles. In fact, they’re claimed as the main building material, and meticulously arranged into portraits and elaborate designs. It is a private home, however, so it’s hard to tell just how far the bottle work goes.

article-imagephotograph by Самый древний/Wikimedia

article-imagephotograph by Самый древний/Wikimedia

GRANDMA PRISBREY’S BOTTLE VILLAGE
Simi Valley, California

article-imagephotograph by Los Angeles/Wikimedia

Starting in 1956 and continuing for 25 years, Tressa “Grandma” Prisbrey built sculptures and structures from bottles and other salvaged landfill junk on her 1/3 acre lot in Simi Valley, California. The busy Prisbrey passed away in 1988, leaving 13 buildings and numerous curious sculptures, such as one composed mainly of doll heads. Now Grandma Prisbrey’s Bottle Village is celebrated as an incredible example of vernacular architecture with its listing on the National Register of Historic Places. 

article-imagephotograph by Brenna/Flickr

article-image
photograph by Los Angeles/Wikimedia

article-imagephotograph by Stephen Schafer/Historic American Buildings Survey

THE BOTTLE HOUSE
Kaleva, Michigan

article-imagephotograph by Doug Coldwell/Wikimedia

Soda is a major part of the industry history in the small town of Kaleva, Michigan, and one of the homes in the community of just over 500 inhabitants is appropriately built with more than 60,000 glass bottles. The Bottle House was once the home of John J. Makinen, Sr. who owned the local Northwestern Bottling Works. Completed in 1941, the words “Happy Home” are spelled out in glass on the front and other geometric motifs pattern the side walls. Sadly, Makinen died suddenly in 1942 before he really had a chance to appreciate the shimmering home. 

article-imageThe Bottle House in the 1940s (via Up North Memories/Flickr)

EDOUARD ARSENAULT BOTTLE HOUSES
Wellington, Canada 

article-imagephotograph by Douglas Sprott/Flickr

While not as elaborate as some of the bottle buildings on this list, the Edouard Arsenault Bottle Houses are among the most picturesque. Built with more than 25,000 bottles in every available color, the three buildings shine in a garden of lush greenery in Wellington, Canada. Arsenault, their builder, was inspired in 1979 at the age of 66 by a postcard he’d received of a Vancouver castle, and thought he’d like one of his own, eventually expanding to a tavern and chapel. Like all of the constructions on this list, it’s a captivating example of using the resources you have to build the delicate palace of your dreams.

article-imagephotograph by Douglas Sprott/Flickr

article-imagephotograph by Douglas Sprott/Flickr


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