Temple of a Million Bottles
The monks at Wat Pa Maha Kaew Temple, located in Siasaket province northeast of Thailand’s capital city of Bangkok, took “99 bottles of beer on the wall” and put them into the only temple in the world built out of glass bottles. They even used the bottle caps to make mosaic murals.
Nicknamed “Wat Lan Kuad” or “Temple of Million Bottles,” this unplanned project started in 1984, when Buddhist monks decided to gather bottles to simply decorate their shelters. The shiny new building material started to attract more and more visitors who began donating bottles, and 1.5 million recycled bottles later, the monks had enough bottles to complete an entire building.
The monks have utilized the sustainable building material, Heineken bottles (green) and Chang Beer bottles (brown), into every design area possible. By incorporating the bottles into the complex, they’ve created a surprisingly easy-to-maintain building material that doesn’t ever lose its color and lets an abundance of light in.
In the process of creating a visual masterpiece, the monks have also brought the local pollution problem to light while cleaning up and have given the local people, as well as the thousands of visitors annually, a “visual reminder to the scope of pollution and the potential we can make with limber minds,” according to Doug Gunzelmann of GreenUpgrader.com.
The monks are still collecting glass bottles to build even more structures at Wat Pa Maha Kaew and have since created a complex of more than 20 buildings using the beer bottles.
The bottles from the inspired locals have contributed to comprising the main temple, a crematorium, a few prayer rooms, several small bungalows, and even tourist restrooms.