As part of our series of articles on strange architecture, it is time to take a look at the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew complex in north-east Thailand. Better known as The Million Bottle Temple, the construction is an unconventional contemporary Buddhist temple in the Khun Han district of the Sisaket province.
And strange why? Well the clue is in the title. The temple and surrounding structures are made out of over a million empty beer bottles. The project began back in 1984 in an effort to promote recycling and clean up the landscape.
The resident Buddhist monks simply encouraged everyone in the area to bring them recycled beer bottles to create a temple complex.
However since the completion of the temple more and more buildings have been added. ”The more bottles we get, the more buildings we make,” says Abbot San Kataboonyo.
Recycling is not limited to the building of the temple and other buildings. Large mosaics form part of the interiors, and are all made out of bottle caps.
Besides being ego-friendly, the disused bottles don’t fade, provide good lighting and are easy to clean.
Representing the cleansing of the human mind, the beer-bottle-temple is now on an approved list of eco-friendly sightseeing tours in South-East Asia.