How a Brick-Shaped Heineken Bottle Almost Changed the World 50 Years Ago

Freddy Heineken's vision for cheaper building materials

You may have never heard of Alfred "Freddy" Heineken, but he should be a hero to drinkers and kids'-toy enthusiasts everywhere. Laughing Squid has the story of how Freddy—the third-generation patriarch of the Dutch brewing family—invented the WOBO, a beer bottle that essentially doubled as a giant interlocking Lego brick, and was made for building eco-homes back in the early 1960s. His original intent was to help the lower classes in Curaçao, where he happened to vacation in 1963, build houses for themselves with the very materials that were already littering their beaches—discarded beer bottles. Thousands of WOBO bottles were made, but as of 2012, almost all of them have been lost or destroyed—and only two WOBO structures still exist. Unfortunately, the Heineken brewery wasn't as into the idea as Freddy was, and realistically, there aren't very many people who would live in a house made of beer bottles (insert obligatory Mel Gibson/Charlie Sheen/Alex Trebek joke here). But still, it's cool to see evidence of upcycling decades before that became a thing. More images after the jump.