Hamidullah Ilchibaev, Oz Palace
Chelyabinsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, 454007, Russia
About the Artist/Site
Once a small provincial town, in the last years of the 19th century Chelyabinsk became connected by train with Moscow and also became a stop on the Trans-Siberian Railroad; in the 1930s it became the site for the relocation of much of Soviet factory production, a strategic move by Stalin to keep armaments out of the way of the advancing German armies. It is now a relatively prosperous city and the administrative center of the area, with over one million inhabitants.
Ilchibaev had enjoyed creating small sculptures from beer and vodka bottles, and his second son had always thought it would be an excellent idea to build a house out of them one day. When this son died prematurely at the age of 18, the bereaved father spent an active three years collecting empty champagne bottles in order to fulfill his son’s dream. Most were given to him by friends and local bars or restaurants, but some he paid for at the price of one ruble per bottle.
The house measures 99 square meters (roughly 1065 square feet), and because the bottles he collected had somewhat different sizes and circumferences, Ilchibaev developed a special glass cutter in order to cut off the bottle tops at exactly the same height, ensuring that the cut bodies – abutting the infrastructure of the exterior walls – would form a flat surface. Laid in horizontally, they are mortared together with the convex bottom ends facing the exterior, with a gap of approximately a finger’s width left between the infrastructure of the walls and the bottles: this Ilchibaev filled with a mortar that holds the bottles firmly in place while serving to insulate the entire building.
Ilchibaev has only covered the first floor of the small two-story house with the bottles, leaving a roughly 1.5-meter-high concrete foundation as well as the gabled second story free of adornment. He has estimated that he used some 12,000 bottles for his ornamentation and, although the financial implications were not uppermost in his mind when he decided to use the bottles in construction, he found that building the house in this way was five times cheaper than if he had used more standard materials. Yet he insists that it is as solid as any other, particularly since the way the bottles have been inlaid enables him to replace any individual component that breaks.
The house was given by the artist to his oldest son as a wedding present; he and his young wife adore it.
~Jo Farb Hernández
Photos by Valery Zvonarev; get them here: http://www.odditycentral.com/architecture/russian-man-builds-house-with-12000-bottles-of-champagne.html
Map & Site Information
Chelyabinsk, Chelyabinsk Oblast, 454007 ru
Latitude/Longitude: 55.164442 / 61.436843
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