Merging Bamboo & Concrete for the Emerging World

© Hannah Ahlblad

Developed by Hannah Ahlblad, a recent graduate of Wellesley College cross-registered at MIT’s School of Architecture + Planning, this article explores the potential of merging and concrete, harnessing the strengths of both materials to create a sustainable, durable and affordable material for use in developing countries. Hannah’s project was created in conclusion to the semester-long emergent materials elective taught by Professor John E. Fernández, Director of MIT’s Building Technology Program.

In the rapidly developing economies of East Asia and Latin America, urban architecture often seeks to combine the local heritage with the prestige of Western contemporary form and practices. The materials used in urban areas of these growing cities follow the , glass, and concrete technology used elsewhere. Usually, emerging materials research looks at the structural properties and applications of materials under scientific development. Less consideration has been given to ancient building materials and their interaction with today’s engineering.

This Temporary Treetop Hotel Lets You Sleep “With the Birds”

Chinese firm Penda, known for their ecologically sensitive designs, has redesigned the tent in a bold new way for the AIM “Legend Of The Tent” Competition. Their proposal, ”One With The Birds,” is a flexible and sustainable structure that integrates sleeping pods into the forest canopy. Inspired by Native American Tipis, which are moveable and reusable, the structure, made from sticks latched together with rope, leaves no impact on the site nor causes any harm to the itself. 

A mock-up of the project will soon be installed as a temporary hotel. According to the architects, “after the temporary hotel is deconstructed, the materials can be reused as scaffolding on a construction site or reused as another temporary hotel on a different location.”

Learn more about this remarkable structure, after the break.

Bamboo: A Viable Alternative to Steel Reinforcement?

reinforcement. Image © Professorship of Architecture and Con- struction Dirk E. Hebel, ETH 3) Zürich / FCL Singapore

Developing countries have the highest demand for steel-reinforced concrete, but often do not have the means to produce the steel to meet that demand.  Rather than put themselves at the mercy of a global market dominated by developed countries, Singapore’s Future Cities Laboratory suggests an alternative to this manufactured rarity: bamboo.  Abundant, sustainable, and extremely resilient, bamboo has potential in the future to become an ideal replacement in places where steel cannot easily be produced.

2013 Foster + Partners Prize Awarded to John Naylor

‘Bamboo Lakou’ /

The Architectural Association and Foster + Partners have announced John Naylor of Diploma Unit 16 as the 2013 recipient for his project ‘Bamboo Lakou’. Presented annually, the award is presented to an AA Diploma student whose portfolio best addresses the themes of sustainability and infrastructure.

Brett Steele, Director of the Architectural Association School of Architecture, said: “John Naylor’s project demonstrates the ways in which infrastructural ideas – and architectural imagination – might today expand beyond the clichés of Modernism to become life itself, literally breathing life into communities, cities and entire countries – today and long into the future.”

More on the project after the break…

“Thicket” – Installation / Sanders Pace Architecture

© Sanders Pace

Architect: Sanders Pace Architecture
Location: Manchester,
Project Team: Brandon Pace, Michael Davis, Michael Aktalay, Larry Davis, Matthew Davis, Carah Ferry, Will Spencer, Garrett Ferry, Ashley Pace, John Sanders, Stephanie Dowdy, David Scott, Shane Elliot, Leslie Smith
Project Area: 900 SF (x2 pods)
Project Year: Summer 2011
Photographs: © Sanders Pace Architecture 

Forest Pavilion / nArchitects

© Iwan Baan

On May 22nd, 2011, framed by green vaults, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou stood at a podium inside Forest Pavilion to inaugurate the Masadi Art Festival. Facing a crowd of celebrators, designers, and protesters, President Ma delivered his administration’s vision for a low carbon future.

nARCHITECTS’ Forest Pavilion - completed in May 2011 – serves as a shaded meeting and performance space for visitors to the Da Nong Da Fu Forest and Eco-park in Hualien province, . The project was conceived within the context of an art festival curated by Huichen Wu of Artfield, Taipei for ’s Forestry Bureau with the object of raising public awareness of a new growth forest that is being threatened by development. The pavilion is comprised of eleven vaults built with freshly cut green bamboo, a material first used by nARCHITECTS in the internationally acclaimed 2004 Canopy for MoMA P.S.1. As an extension of techniques developed in 2004’s Canopy for MoMA/P.S.1, the 60’ diameter and 22’ tall pavilion is built with green bamboo. Forest Pavilion was chosen to host the opening and closing ceremonies of the art festival, becoming a focal point for the park.

Kayu Aga / Yoka Sara International

© Yoka Sara International

Architects: Yoka Sara International
Location: ,
Client: Alberto Agazzi
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Yoka Sara International

Boarding School for the Deaf / Pierre Goutti Karine Louilot Architectes


Architects: Pierre Goutti Karine Louilot Architectes
Location: ,
Project area: 350 sqm
Project year: 2010
Photographs: PGKL

Suoi Re Village Community House / 1+1>2

© Kiến Việt

Architects: Hoàng Thúc Hào, Nguyễn Duy Thanh
Architects and invester: 1+1>2 Group
Location: Suoi Re village, Luong Son, Hoa Binh province,
Project year: 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of Kiến Việt

Bamboo Structure Project / Pouya Khazaeli Parsa


Design: Pouya Khazaeli Parsa
Location: Ramsar, Mazandaran, Iran
Collaborators: Kaveh Akef, Milad Haghnejad
Construction: Javad Abbasi
Client: Manouchehr Mirdamad
Total Cost: €850
: Gas pip, Bamboo, Rice stream
Maximum diameter: 8 sqm
Minimum diameter: 6 sqm
Maximum height: 3,30 sqm
Project area: 40 sqm
Project year: 2009
Photographs: Pouya Khazaeli Parsa

Restaurant at Greenville / DSA+s

© Courtesy of

Architects: DSA+s
Location: Tanjung Duren Utara, Jakarta,
Principal in Charge: Suwardana Winata
Design Team: Susan Soetanto, Robby Soetanto
Client: Yeye (Ichibanya Japanese Noodle House)
Contractor: PT. Panca Putra Mandiri
Site Area: 648.7 sqm
Project Area: 148 sqm
Project Year: 2009-2010
Photographs: Courtesy of DSA+s

Passive House / Karawitz Architecture

Courtesy of

Aesthetically, this house is a sculptural and abstract replica of a traditional house.  The design by Karawitz reveals a double faced site sensitive house that is closed on the North to limit energy loss and opened on the South to take benefit of free sunshine.

This project was labeled the best performance low consumption house in France and the first house in the parisian region to receive the european labeled certification PHI “Passiv Haus Institut”.

Photographs and drawings of the Passive House after the break.

Architects: Karawitz Architecture
Location: Bessancourt, France
Structural: DI Eisenhauer
Thermal: Solares Bauen
Project Area: 177 sqm
Project Year: 2009
Photographs:  Hervé Abbadie and Karawitz

The Green School / PT Bambu

© PT Bambu

Architects: PT Bambu
Location: Badung, ,
Client: Yayasan Kul Kul
Project Area: 7,542 sqm
Project Year: 2007
Photographs: PT Bambu, Ahkamul Hakim

Adelaide Zoo Giant Panda Forest / Hassell

© Ben Wrigley

Architects: Hassell
Location: Adelaide, South ,
Project Team: Sharon Mackay, Timothy Horton, Nicholas Persons, Alex Hall, Ed Mitchell, Andrew Schunke, John Wright, Josh Palmer, Amy Reed, Hugh Fraser, Maciek Furmanik, Mariano DeDuonni, Sam Wee, Meaghan Williams, David Bills, Yi Kai Lim
Client: Zoos SA
Main Contractor: Hindmarsh
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Peter Bennetts, Ben Wrigley

In Progress: Brick House / iStudio Architecture

Courtesy of

Mumbai-based iStudio Architecture shared with us their House, a great project using bricks, stone, wood, bamboo and ferro-cement. The house, located in Wada, is expected to be completed by the end of this year.

More images and architect’s description after the break.

International Bamboo and Rattan Products Ideas Competition

On the occasion of the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, INBAR and the Federation of Hong Kong Industries are organizing the International Bamboo and Rattan Products Ideas Competition to help drive green practices in cities around the world.

The competition theme will respond to the Expo’s theme “Better City, Better Life” by focusing on four categories- clothing, food, shelter and transport. This competition will provide a platform for producers, designers, practitioners, and organizations from around the world to present their innovative approaches to building green cities worldwide with and rattan.

For more information, visit the competition’s official website. Seen at Death by Architecture.