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Will the cities of the future be made of bamboo?

Instead of cement, concrete, conventional wood or glass, bamboo. Only bamboo. This ecological wood has enormous potential to become the raw material of the buildings that are made in the future. Not only to make small huts or houses , but also large constructions that could replace even traditional skyscrapers.

But why in the future? As is well known, sustainability is an imperative when it comes to reducing greenhouse emissions, and therefore building materials that are conducive to this and are also feasible have all the winners.

In this post we will review the pros and cons of bamboo as an architectural raw material, while we will review an impressive project that is showing how far it can go with it at an urban level.

  1. Pros and cons of vegetable steel
  2. A building for thousands of people
  3. Disadvantages of bamboo
  4. Green Village
  5. Image from section 2

Pros and cons of vegetable steel

The use of bamboo as a building material is not a new invention . On the contrary, in eastern countries, such as Japan, Vietnam or Malaysia, it has been used for this purpose since ancient times.

Currently, it is used directly or as an ingredient for the manufacture of innovative materials of construction , and has also changed the way of fastening, once made basically by ropes.

Although now it is also going back to the old, achieving surprising results, in the same way it advances in its treatment, union by means of screws or other innovations.

The numerous variants have to do with the importance that it is acquiring not only in eastern lands, but throughout the world. In addition to influencing globalization, its “rediscovery” has much to do with its great advantages as a material.

Without forgetting the added advantage and, increasingly decisive, of the aforementioned sustainability. As is well known, its growth is very fast, especially in comparison with that of wood.

In this way, it is considered a renewable resource, although it is also true that it takes a long time to germinate. In turn, its great resistance is valued, which is why it is called “vegetable steel”.

Its resistance allows it to be used to make the foundations of a construction in the same way as it is done with cement and concrete. And it is that bamboo canes, of different thicknesses, allow great versatility when supporting several floors. Well creating ad hoc structures that are repeated in each of the heights and / or with the technique of piles.

Durability is a weak point that we can avoid to some extent through proper treatment. Other strengths are its low cost, its flexibility and the generation of low waste, since almost everything in it is usable.

Its versatility also refers to the possibility of making from the aforementioned foundations to roofs, exterior walls or partitions and columns. In other words, bamboo is ideal for making a house from foundation to roof, or for occasional use.

A building for thousands of people

It began as a pavilion at the exhibition building of bamboo to live more than 20,000 people. After a year of development, the installation for Beijing Design Week (BJDW) 2015 – Rising Canes was a great success.

Rather than shaping a pavilion in an original way, it was intended to vindicate the use of bamboo , demonstrating structural capacity and, with it, its possibilities for construction . For this, an impressive structural system made only of bamboo and ropes was made.

This same scheme can be used for larger projects, as it is a modular installation that can be expanded in height and width. Or, what is the same, it allows to provide housing solutions to thousands of people.

Bamboo was chosen as the main building material because of its long traditional roots in China and its fantastic structural ability, as well as part of a desire to fight its current oblivion as a building material.

Penda is the name of the architecture studio that has carried out this project, recognized by the A ‘Design Awards for the innovative possibilities it offers.

Penda is now immersed in building a larger model on the outskirts of Beijing. His intention is to build houses like this for about 20,000 residents and he estimates that it could be ready by 2023.

Disadvantages of bamboo

But not everything is as beautiful as we have painted it. Among the disadvantages we must mention some as problematic as the need to have architects, technical personnel and specialized labor.

Nor is it easy to solve that it lacks insulating power or its poor resistance to fire . Even so, it has enormous advantages that make it a strong candidate to be a star material in a future that is supposed to be increasingly oriented towards natural and sustainable materials.

Green Village

Other projects already admire the world, such as the Green Village, a residential complex built with bamboo. In this case, however, the charm goes beyond its beautiful designs, encompassing a philosophy of life in communion with nature .

Culture is also not lacking, as it is located next to the Green School, in Bali, where children are educated in the use of sustainable materials grown organically.

His alma mater, the designer Elora Hardy, is sure that bamboo is a unique material that will help him walk towards a better world. To achieve the much needed “strength for that positive change towards sustainability that we must make in our global future”.

Image from section 2

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Maria Anderson

Hello, I am a blogger specialized in environmental, health and scientific dissemination issues in general. The best way to define myself as a blogger is by reading my texts, so I encourage you to do so. Above all, if you are interested in staying up to date and reflecting on these issues, both on a practical and informative level.

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