“I think I’ve lost my car’s registration papers.” she said. “I’ve been looking for it all over the place for the last couple of hours and can’t find it.”
“Stop stressing yourself out,” I said, “and stop looking for now. You’ll find it when you stop looking!”
It happens so often that we misplace or lose something and then go looking for it when we need it the most. More often than not, we tend to ignore the most obvious places where we might have to look. What is funny though is how when you find what you were looking for, it somehow always appears to make the entire search operation somewhat silly!
We definitely are in the process of losing something extremely important for the very basis of our existence. The rate at which forests are being wiped out trying to cater to the ever-rising demand from the lumber and mining industry, we will soon be looking for alternative solutions. In fact, there are a few amongst us who have been aware enough to start the search. The solution, like always, is all around us, waiting to be found!
Bamboo, the fastest growing plant (true grass) in the world can sometimes grow at the rate of 100 centimeters in 24 hours. Producing about 35% more oxygen than other trees and being a more effective binder of the soil preventing erosion. The possibilities for using bamboo in everything from creating household products to actually using it to build simple and complex structures are infinite. Bamboo naturally has greater tensile strength when compared to steel and can withstand compression better than concrete.
It would be wrong to say that we’ve been totally ignorant of the possibilities that this magnanimous plant provides. A few examples of organizations which are either involved in researching and exploiting these possibilities or have benefited from them are listed here. These should help get a better understanding of the advantages of Bamboo.
1) Green School, Bali, Indonesia
One of the most stunning examples of bamboo architecture, Green School is an institution that takes its stand of sustainability very seriously. The school doesn’t stop at being an example of sustainable building and existential practices; it goes a step further and is pioneering in sustainability within education.
2) Chiangmai Life Construction (CLC), Chiangmai, Thailand
CLC is one of the organizations at the forefront of research and construction using bamboo along with mud as the only media. The philosophy is to increase the quality of life of the client by using natural materials combined with modern, light and clean architecture. They specialize in adobe, wattle & daub and rammed earth walls, rammed earth floors, bamboo roofs, bamboo structures, bamboo pavilions. CLC designs and builds houses, schools as well as office and factory spaces.
The Panyaden School, entirely built from rammed earth walls and floors, adobe bricks, bamboo roofs and recycled hardwood, is one of the projects executed by CLC.
3) Wonder Grass, Bangalore, India
Wonder Grass is an entrepreneurial initiative that strives to bring bamboo based building systems into the mainstream construction industry in India. Their primary work is in the realm of disaster rehabilitation, integrated rural housing, workers housing and rural infrastructure.
QuB bamboo cottage is a result of the research and construction techniques developed by the team at Wonder Grass.
4) Auroville Bamboo Center, Pondicherry, India
For the last six years, the Auroville Bamboo Center has been working with local youth and craftsmen from rural Tamil Nadu with the aim of bringing together traditional Indian craft with contemporary world culture. The goal is to be involved in unending research and development of Bamboo for the benefit of local and international communities.
The Verite community dwellings are a beautiful example of the work that is done by the team at Auroville Bamboo Center.
If you know of other interesting buildings or projects involving creative use of Bamboo as a base unit, do share it here.