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Future Perfect: Sustainable buildings created from bamboo

Sustainable Bamboo House

What’s happening right now?

Much of the urban world is looking for sustainable housing solutions for the ever congesting urban spaces. The use of conventional concrete material has proved to be a burden on environment and a costly option for underdeveloped areas. Interestingly, it has also been acknowledged that naturally occurring bamboos can be a solution to many of the urban woes. This material is cheap, long lasting, earthquake resistant, and easily available. The bamboo houses provide a natural ambiance to the occupants and leads to less consumption of electricity. They also have a long life of about 30-years, if maintained regularly. Many architects have also started to use this material for creating ‘green’ luxury homes, as you will see below.

Trends

1. ROEWU’s Bamboo Forest House

ROEWU's Bamboo Forest House

UK-based ROEWU Architecture has built this vacation house in Eastern Taiwan from bamboos. The house depends on natural sunlight and air for ventilation during days and different seasons. For this, several double and triple height void spaces has been created from the artistically crafted bamboo poles. The roof deck forms a space for family gathering with variable sunshade system during the summers. Also, the karaoke lounge and spa on the second floor serves as a bathing and singing spot during winter season.

2. Bamboo House

Bamboo House

The Bamboo House is another example of futuristic sustainable housing design. Bamboos have been creatively used to construct glossy exteriors to attract the onlookers. From inside, the house provides all necessary space and facilities required by a household.

3. Bamboo House in Guanacaste

Bamboo House in Guanacaste

Designed by Benjamin Garcia Saxe, the Bamboo House in Guanacaste, Costa Rica, inverts the role of the forest by bringing its essential features inside the house. There are two living modules, one private bedroom and a public kitchen inside the house. Also, an internal patio provides space for various household functions.

The concept

Bamboo forms an exciting natural and organic material for building beautifully designed houses. Naturally earthquake and termite resistant, the tangible and strong bamboos can be used to replace concrete, steel or wood for building new homes. While, it has been traditionally used for thousands for years, and even now in many developing countries, as a housing material for the poor, it could also be used for creating luxury homes for living, vacations or parties. For this, bamboo poles can be laminated to shape different beams for a longer life. It can also be converted into plywood for use as the wall.

The advantages

There are multiple advantages of creating modern buildings with bamboo material. Some of them have been outlined as follows:

1. Sustainable housing solution

Bamboo is naturally available in all types of climate and regions across the world. It is cheap as compared to other building materials and offers enough tensile strength for use as a building material. In fact, bamboo living homes in the USA have passed the toughest hurricane codes.

2. Minimum technology requirement

Bamboo houses require minimum technology and provide enough scope for creative use of this natural resource. It has been found that bamboo requires only 1/8th of total energy required for processing concrete and just 1/3rd of energy required for processing wood.

3. Boon for developing world

Much of the developing world is poor and populous. They are in urgent need of providing housing solution to an ever increasing population. The use of bamboo on a large scale will ease up the situation.

4. Employment opportunities

The use and promotion of bamboos for housing will provide employment opportunities to millions of people. The designers will also have opportunity to be at their creative best with a natural resource.

5. Less construction time required

Constructing bamboo houses require less time as compared to the concrete ones. Infact, one small house can be constructed in 4-5 hours only. This will prove extremely beneficial in disaster-hit areas.

6. Environmental benefits

There are multiple environmental benefits of using bamboo as housing material. The conventional concrete houses are build from concrete that requires steel and cement. These items are produced in large carbon-emitting industries which also leave a lot of harmful waste material.

The Impact

It is not only the poor but many luxury-housing architects in different parts of the world, as you have seen above, have started to employ bamboo in their schemes. In Bali a large commercial building spread in about 23,000 sq ft has been built up recently from bamboos. Named as ‘bamboo cathedral’ this is also the largest building made from bamboos. However, such experiments are less in number and it might require a lot of advertisement to persuade even the riches to switchover to bamboo houses for a sustainable tomorrow.

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