Heineken's WOBO Bottle, Designed For People To Build Houses Out Of Beer Bottles

By Cyn Felthousen-Post

For Alfred "Freddy" Heineken, building a house out of glass beer bottles was a solution to two problems -- and in 1960, it was a visionary attempt at recycling. On a trip to the Caribbean island of Curacao, Heineken witnessed beaches strewn with empty beer bottles, many of them bearing his own name (Heineken/Amstel had a brewery on the island at that time); he also noted the poor living conditions of the residents, partly due to a lack of affordable building materials.

Heineken had a bolt of inspiration: What if you could make a beer bottle that could be used as a brick? He enlisted John Habraken, a Dutch architect, to design the WOBO, short for "world bottle." This design was also called the “brick that holds beer.”