Bamboo floors and panels have almost become commonplace in modern home design and renovation, but what about entire structures made of the stuff?
In Vietnam, one architectural firm is using bamboo to build low-cost homes that can withstand floods and operate as environmentally sustainable structures. It’s a design that could prove revolutionary on many different levels.
Low-cost housing option
The 473-square-foot structure, designed by H & P Architects and known as Blooming Bamboo, is expected to cost approximately $2,500 per structure, making it the kind of option that could be purchased even in economically-distressed communities.
By relying on natural bamboo, which can be found in abundance many places around the globe, H & P was able to use a material that helped bring the overall cost of manufacturing down to the point that the home would be economically viable even for those who wouldn’t normally have the financial means to purchase a home.
Easy to build
Another attribute that could make this new home an important part of aiding world communities is that it can be assembled by the owner within 25 days or, with help, in even less time. That cuts into costly, deliberate construction delays that often hamper the extension of housing availability to areas where it is needed most.
Regional conflicts around the world, especially the ongoing one in Syria, have led to a sharp increase in refugees and, thus, refugee camps. That’s why it is so important to have housing options that can be erected quickly, while also offering strong shelter and protection from diseases that often thrive in the tents and other cheap structures often relied on by aid agencies.
Currently, Blooming Bamboo is designed to withstand floods of up to five feet, but H & P is working on an updated version that would take that number up to 10 feet. Especially in southeast Asia, where flood seasons are simply considered part of life, this low-cost, simple structure could provide a measure of relief to populations who are literally inundated on a yearly basis.
One of bamboo’s primary virtues as a building material is that it provides a sustainable alternative to hardwoods and other strong substances. By using it as the base for the house, H & P has not only come up with a low-cost, easy-to-build, flood-resistant housing option that could be a boon to distressed populations in many parts of the world, it has done so in an eco-friendly manner, once again showing the power of bamboo to be a tool in solving modern problems.