Bamboo is a woody plant with a hollow stem that’s in the grass family. It’s one of the fastest-growing plants in the world.
It has a wide range of application – used as flooring materials, cosmetic products, stationery, culinary, etc.
The most amazing application of bamboo for me has been its use in the building construction industry. First, we saw it used as scaffolding material. Time went by, and to utilize its full potentials, it has been put to greater use.
Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia is at the forefront propagating bamboo as a chief building construction. He calls it the “green steel of the 21st century” and he is not bluffing as he has designed quite a number of bamboo structures to back his statement. And they are all a beauty to behold.
A recent application of bamboo by Vo Trong Nghia is at the Diamond Island, Located on a Saigon River peninsula in the east of Ho Chi Minh City.
Inspired by the traditional bamboo basket used by Vietnamese farmers to shelter poultry, Vo Trong Nghia constructed a multi purpose Community Centre for the residents. This Centre is made up of eight bamboo domes – two of which measure 12.5 meters in height, and six measure 7 meters in height.
A verbatim report from the studio has it that “The large pavilions are double-layered dome structures. The outer roof layer of thatch overhangs from the inner basket-like structure to create deep eaves, protecting the whole bamboo structure from harsh sunshine and heavy rainfall. The umbrella structures consist of 12 prefabricated structural units, aiming at efficiency of construction.”
This Community Centre has bamboo as columns and framework assembled both onsite (the two biggest domes), and prefabricated (the six smaller domes which were prefabricated in 12parts) by skilled local workers.
To achieve good ventilation and fenestration, there is “a round skylight at the peak of the roof to ensure that no artificial lighting is needed for daytime activities. Hot air also travels out through this opening, keeping the spaces well ventilated.”
Building with bamboo should be used more in parts of the world where it is readily available as it is durable, sustainable, and affordable.
By: D’zyna Eni