Bamboo: The Latest Architecture and News
Mexico is a country known globally for its traditional and contemporary architectural elements. The construction techniques characteristic of each region and the use of materials according to thermic, economic, or aesthetic needs result in unique spaces.
Bamboo as a constructive or decorative element, coating, facade, or roof has proven its superiority over materials such as plastic and steel.
While it is true that research on this material has advanced significantly in recent years, we know that there is still much to learn. Many architects are seeking knowledge from the past to apply to their current techniques. Below, we've selected a list of 8 Mexican projects that explore the use of bamboo in the hands of architects and artisans.
As part of a collaboration between the Centre Pompidou and the Mao Jihong Arts Foundation, the Cosmopolis #1.5: 'Enlarged Intelligence' exhibition features the developments of NLÉ Makoko Floating School. The Minjiang Floating System (MFS IIIx3), the fourth prototype and the third iteration of the prefabricated self-built system for water, investigates methods to counter the challenges posed by urbanization and climate change.
Earlier prototypes of the Makoko Floating School include the Waterfront Atlas (MFS II) launched in Venice, Italy and the Minne Floating School (MFS III) in Bruges, Belgium. The project, initially developed for the water in Lagos, is now usable in all these sites including the Jincheng Lake in Chengdu.
Bamboo is an ancient building material that has been used in a variety of countries and building types. A sustainable material with a unique aesthetic, it is arguably one of the greatest architectural trends of the moment.
This material's structural and sustainable qualities demonstrate that bamboo can be three times more resistant than steel and grow about 4 feet (1.22 meter) in just one day.
Tradition and innovation. Those are the two pillars within which Bamboo U's workshop’s creative pendulum strives to swing. Following the practice of ancient Mongolian yurts, participants of Bamboo U, a build and design course in Bali, have created a bamboo yurt which can fold like an umbrella and can be deployed in an instant. Under the guidance of the German master-builder Jörg Stamm, students built the first retractable yurt prototype in Bali during Bamboo U’s last edition in April.
Bridging the gap between the old and the new is never easy. Traditional building methods, where you often adjust to the unpredictability of a natural material, seem to contrast with the mechanical precision of modern construction. Sombra Verde - a bamboo gazebo developed by AIRLAB and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) as part of Singapore’s Urban Design Festival 2018 - bridges this gap. The traditional raw bamboo poles, used extensively throughout Southeast Asia, are combined with 3D printed connectors, utilizing a series of new technologies. The result is an iconic, lightweight structure in Singapore’s Duxton Plain Park that promotes the use of public space, sheltering the population from both the intense sun and heavy rain.
Foster + Partners has published photographs of their recently-opened Apple Store in Macau, intended as a “new oasis of calm” against the city’s buzz and excitement. The store, opened on June 29th, was designed in response to a brief calling for “an inviting, contemplative space, where technology, entertainment, and arts come together to make a positive contribution to the city.”
Apple Cotai Central was designed in a close collaboration between Foster + Partners and Apple’s chief design officer Sir Jonathan Ive, a collaboration which has previously produced Apple stores at Michigan Avenue in Chicago, and Regent Street in London.
In architecture we are so caught up in creating something new, we often forget about what happens at the end of a building’s life cycle—the unfortunate, inevitable demolition. We may want our buildings to be timeless and live on forever, but the harsh reality is that they do not, so where is all the waste expected to go?
As with most non-recyclable waste, it ends up in the landfill and, as the land required for landfill becomes an increasingly scarce resource, we must find an alternative solution. Each year in the UK alone, 70–105 million tonnes of waste is created from demolishing buildings, and only 20% of that is biodegradable according to a study by Cardiff University. With clever design and a better awareness of the biodegradable materials available in construction, it’s up to us as architects to make the right decisions for the entirety of a building’s lifetime.