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Shakirat Owolabi-dada

Name: Shakirat Owolabi-dada
Course: BSc(Hons) Architectural Technology

Architectural Technology student builds her success story

Architectural Technology student Shakirat Owolabi-dada has been ‘Highly Commended’ in the Student Award for Excellence in Architectural Technology by the Chartered Institute for Architectural Technologists (CIAT).

The judges praised her work looking into the use of Coca Cola bottles as a building element, originally submitted as part of the 5,000 word mini dissertation which final year Architectural Technology students have to complete. Shakirat’s interest in sustainability and the recycling of materials inspired her to investigate reusing Coca Cola bottles as a building element - something which would prove especially useful in her native Nigeria, where plastic bottle waste is a huge problem.

After discovering the bottles lacked the requisite compressive strength to be used as a building element, she took to the state-of-the-art UCLan laboratories in an attempt to improve their strength. After filling the bottles with materials such as sand, dirt and a weak concrete mix, Shakirat found the bottles filled with coarse sand had the highest strength, closely followed by the bottles with filled fine sand.

Ann Vanner, Course Leader in Architectural Technology said: “Shakirat’s findings were very interesting and showed the ethos of practical creativity we have in Architectural Technology.

We’re privileged that at UCLan, thanks to the excellent facilities, resources and laboratory support we have, students have scope to be really creative and have the chance to explore their ideas.”

After submitting the findings for her dissertation, tutors were so impressed that they suggested submitting it to CIAT, where judges were equally impressed with Shakirat’s radical research.

“Shakirat showed the compressive nature of the bottles does improve with the addition of material especially sand but ultimately if you were building with bottles, you would still need some additional support. This is something we’re going to investigate further with students next year, where we will attempt to build a small shelter using waste we find on campus,” added Vanner.