53 Million Bottles Temple (วัดล้านขวด)
On the way back from Ubon Rachathani after setting up HJS exhibition, on our van ride, we had a chance to stop by a small town called Khun Han (อ.ขุนหาญ) in Sri Saket Province (จ.ศรีษะเกษ) to see a temple we had been long to see for several years – Million Bottles Temple.
Most of the buildings of the temple are built mainly with recycled bottles.
According to one of the construction guys we met at the temple, it began more than 10 years ago that the head of the monks had this idea to use the bottles instead of bricks, because they had not much money to buy the common construction materials. The monks, therefore, asked for a donation of used bottles of all kinds – the main one was the beer bottles which was very fine tuned with the Thai’s drinking habit. -_-”
The main building on the pond:
All the walls, the floors and the roofs are made by bottles of different colors and sizes. Not only they dont need to paint the surface, the air in those bottles acts as insulation of the building — genius!
Look at the floor –> the bottom of the bottles are used instead of the tiles. The balustrade is perfectly made with the lining up bottles.. cool indeed.
When we got inside one of these buildings we were even more impressed by the interior wall on the back of the Buddha.
The whole mural patterns and decorations are made out of the caps of those bottles, in different colors and sizes, of course, instead of small pieces of color glass commonly used in any Thai Buddhist temples. Cheap, intelligent and beautiful solution.
The walls have several patterns, upon the creativity of the masonry who made it!
After the method got famous, they began to build all the monk cells with the same technique and material.
And also the other buildings such as a multi purpose hall are built in the same fashion. Look at the curvy roof with the diamond pattern, the guy who built it told us that they were fighting over which pattern to use and he won!
The crematorium and the main gate of the temple are also built in this style.
So they invented several patterns of different colors and sizes of the bottles.
Sometimes, they combine together the caps and the bottles. -_-”
Some fancy columns decorated by those caps. (We can still see which brands are they)!
Another amazing item is the floor, they developed a special terrazzo made out of small pieces of glass from the bottles. So the terrazzo is more sparkle than usual!
As an architect, we bow to those who put all their attempts in experimenting with building the temple. There are thousands ideas that we could not come up surely from a drafting board or our CAD or 3D model screen. Local wisdom wins here. ^_^