Sky Marketing presents this article on every information about bamboo in construction.
Bamboo in Construction and Sustainable Architecture
Bamboo has always been part of architecture as a construction material, but since the TED channel conference (later video) by designer Laura Hardy, we will begin to understand that its usefulness as a structural element is impressive.
In interior design, it goes much further than the simple use of this ecological material that belongs to the Poaceae or grass family in a building or home.
Visually… it’s impressive! It has almost perfect elasticity and flexion with good resistance, and, in addition, it is very cheap.
So the use of bamboo in decoration is an option, but not the only one. (Also see the construction of biological houses made with agricultural residues)
Experimentation with this cane material in structures is surprising even the most avant-garde architects who see a new opportunity to build cheaper and fully sustainable homes.
As we can see in the following image, bamboo architecture is capable of combining interior design and structure in the same room.
The good results of bamboo in construction are opening up new perspectives of using similar materials such as cane or wicker, which traditionally are more derived objects, to propose new uses, abilities, and functionalities.
Bamboo as a Building Material
It has been shown over the centuries that bamboo constructions are resistant and last over the years, especially in areas of Asia where this material is abundant and widely used locally.
Bamboos come from the genus of grass, that is, grass, but with the peculiarity that it has a woody trunk that is the bamboo cane that we all know. It must be considered that it has two main advantages over its traditionally direct competitor, timber.
One, its speed of growth (State of maximum hardness is established after 3 years), and secondly, its ease of propagation, which in some cases is even an inconvenience. It grows on almost all continents except Europe.
Bamboo, as a sustainable material, absorbs considerably more carbon dioxide than pine. It is a true storehouse of carbon dioxide; let’s remember that it is the most powerful greenhouse gas emitted by our factories and transportation and is guilty of climate change.
It usually has a life of 10 years, and when it dies, it returns carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, so it is preferable – in that regard – to take advantage of it and grow a new litter.
Characteristics of Bamboo as a Material
Although it may seem disconcerting in some technical aspects, it behaves better than the wood itself, concrete, and even steel.
The characteristics of bamboo in construction provide abilities and advantages over other materials, with a good relationship between resistance and elasticity, an important issue in structural issues.
- Tip: Not used. It returns to the earth as organic matter
- Top Branches: For structural cleats on the deck
- Trunk: Deck, scaffolding, pillars and greenhouses, planks, thin columns, and beams
- Lower part of the trunk: For pillars, greenhouses, and fences
- Root: Sculptures, furniture, and toys
We can expand the information about bamboo cane in construction and its capacities as a construction and structural material from the following guidance document.
Advantages of Bamboo in Construction
Using bamboo in architecture can provide multiple benefits, especially from an environmental perspective, without losing the capabilities of a resistant and economically viable material. So let’s see the advantages of building with reeds :
- Bamboo growth is very fast. It achieves an approximate yield of 3.3 times that of wood, without counting the benefits that occur in the face of soil desertification and deforestation
- It does not produce waste. It is totally biodegradable
- It requires little energy for its production, with a low ecological footprint that helps reduce CO2 emissions compared to traditional concrete
- In bamboo in construction, due to its fibrous composition, it allows longitudinal and transversal cuts
- Because it has a hollow interior, that is, the weight of the material is very light, achieving lightweight structures, and also, it is much easier to transport
- It has a high tensile strength comparable to steel and compression comparable to concrete
- Due to its flexibility, resistance, and hardness capacities, it is an excellent material for all types of furniture, structures, coverings, drainage, etc.
It is also interesting to see the following TED conference (Subtitled in Spanish) that explains a little more about the subject:
Disadvantages of Bamboo in Construction
Obviously, like any material used in construction, it has some drawbacks that we must consider when we are building a building.
- Bamboo elements do not always have the same shape and also depend a lot on the species: growth, humidity, age, etc.
- The trunk does not always grow straight, and it can be a big problem when we use bamboo in construction
- The conical shape of the cane causes the diameter to change throughout its length
- Due to its non-circular section, there are difficulties in anchoring the different elements when we build a house with bamboo
- Like wood, bamboo is also vulnerable to different insects and fungi
- When used in the construction sector, given the vulnerability of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, protection and maintenance is necessary
- Since we do not have a homogeneous material, there are difficulties in the structural calculation and more if we speak from a regulatory perspective
- Special care must be taken with bamboo plantations and their relationship with ecosystems. It can become an invasive species if there is no strict control
Architecture Projects with Bamboo
There are many examples of architecture with bamboo, and even more, if we consider that this material is claiming its status, either because it is required by large architecture firms for their projects with groundbreaking designs for homes or buildings or as that old structural material with a guaranteed future. Due to its properties (resistant, hard, flexible, cheap, renewable, durable), cost, and low environmental impact, the reality is that it provides unparalleled simplicity and beauty.
The following 42,000-piece bamboo building of the Grand World Phu Quoc Welcome Center was designed as a sculpture representing Vietnamese culture.
It is also widely used in tourist complexes due to its impressive visuals and its commitment to a sustainable and local material. A perfect example is the Ulaman hotel…
Bamboo Decoration Project Example
Fifteen tapered bamboo columns support the roof of this cafe, designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects in a hotel in central Vietnam.
Example of Industrial Design with Bamboo
Design by the Dutch Tejo Remy and René Veenhuizen. The adaptability of this very interesting material allows the design of curved shapes, and with high resistance, the use of bamboo can cover many fields, and in the industrial design of objects, it is perfect.
Bamboo for Social Development
An excellent example of social architecture is the BB project (Blooming Bamboo by H&P Architects). In Vietnam, natural phenomena are serious and diverse: storms, floods, hurricanes, landslides, etc… An endless number of natural disasters hit the country every year, reducing the development of the affected areas.
A solution for houses and homes of millions of these people is the present project. Users can build the bamboo house by themselves in 25 days, a well-thought-out self-construction that is already a reality for many inhabitants.
A sustainable project finalist in the Architizer A and Award awards. In addition, it can be produced in modules, and the total cost of the house is only 2,500 dollars.
You may also read about New City Paradise , a construction gem in Pakistan.