framing 300 views
Can a box contain something for everyone? While one type doesn’t always fit all, housing for developing countries needs to be able to be fabricated in rapid standardized ways to be able to make a dent in the high demand for sheltering.


While fabricated using low tech methods and using cheap, wdely available materials, the idea was not to necessarily romaticize poverty nor be nostalgic about existing informal housing typologies and shanty towns. A major preoccupation was to provide good living conditions, reinstating a sense of dignity to the residents while providing enough flexibility for upgrades that could reflect a status upgrade or social mobility in the future.
The House is formed by a series of frames which compose the floor, ceiling, and two of the walls.  The cooking area, storage, and services fit within the thickness of the bamboo frame, to free up the interior space, which maximizes flexibility in the compact space. The varying configuration of the frames create an interior landscape which accommodates domestic behaviors such as sitting, eating, writing, lying, and sleeping. The fluid plan allows the lifestyle of the occupant to dictate the use of floor space, rather than vice-versa.
Modular walls fabricated using bamboo scaffolding techniques are filled with building blocks made from free regionally available materials manage daylight depending on how they are filled according to the location in the world, while the layered structural frames suggest functional zones.

Framing 300 Views Bamboo House Main Facts Sheet
Cost of the House / General Approach The cost difference mainly depends on the local building products and transportation of materials.

In general percentages of each element of work to build a house are listed in below table:

Item name           percentage                        sub item name        percentage


Material cost           90%                    walls                   25%

                                                            Roof & floors         30%

                                                           Doors & windows      15%

                                                             Foundation             20%

Construction cost     10%


Based on this breakdown, some initial thoughts come out for the housing design, namely:

-Looking for cheap materials to build walls, floors and roof, if free even better.

-Using light materials to reduce the load and the cost of the foundation

-Adopting traditional construction technology to enable the residents themselves build the house for zero workmanship and transportation costs.


Local Building Resources

Bamboo, straw, stone, sugar cane, clay, earth, misc. discarded cardboard, bottles and pipes.


Straw: In most parts of Southern Asia, rice is the main crop in rural areas. Only 5% of the straw is used for animal food and then most of them are burned.


Bamboo: According to Colombian architect Oscar Hidalgo, bamboo is the �wood of the poor� with most diverse uses compared to any other construction material. It is the most popular plant in southern Asia, but also widely available globally also in abundance in latin America. Bamboo grows much faster than wood and high strength in the vertical direction as well as lightness. It exhibits structural efficiency due to its hollow configuration. Another advantage of bamboo is its cheap price as raw poles.

Traditional skills and methods can be used for bamboo house construction; people are able to construct their own housing using only simple tools; it is easily harvested and needs almost no finishing before use; easily built, well-ventilated, sturdy, and earthquake resistant; and it can be used in all aspects of building from foundation posts, framing and walls, roof tiles, doors and windows and furniture.


Stone and earth/clay are easy to get for the people. Stone found in mountain areas and highlands. Earth and clay are available just about anywhere. It is widely used for foundation and walls of the houses. It is almost free to local people who find stone. The only cost is transport and shape that can be done by local residents.


Resiliency at Natural Disasters

Bamboo�s lightweight is an advantage In case of an earthquake, a disadvantage in the case of a hurricane. While bamboo�s weight is negligible therefore easily blown away, the problem can be solved by connecting everything together. The house is comprised of continuously tied floor, wall and roof structures in 1m widths, the entire house is comprised of 6 frames fabricated one by one therefore facilitating fabrication by residents and erection on site.


Some of the bamboo construction techniques adopted for the house

-Bamboo joinery is simple, no nails needed. Bamboo lashing using soft iron wire, vines, split bamboo or rattan. In case of weaving nothign required but manual skills.

-Interior walls can be made of woven bamboo matting to allow maximum ventilation.

Bahareque: wattle and daub construction in which a bamboo frame (wattle) is coated with mud or mud/straw (daub) mixture.

-There are two types of bamboo walls: The solid and the hollow: 
Solid type: horizontal canes or bamboo laths are fixed on both sides of the culms. The space in between is filled with mud and a finish plaster is applied on both sides. This can be used in areas where more protection to the elements is necessary or if the aesthetic of exposed bamboo is not favorably accepted by residents.

Hollow type: Esterilla is fixed on both sides of the bamboo culms, and plaster is applied on the outside. Can be used in tropical climates

Embutido: A type of wattle and daub construction in which three-inch wide bamboo strips are nailed on both sides of a bamboo frame (wattle) and the cavity filled with mud or a mud/straw mixture (daub).

Esterilla: Method of opening culms of bamboo into flat boards by splitting the culms opened lengthwise.

Plybamboo: woven bamboo glued together with an inner layer of cheap wood to make plywood boards.


Economics / Job Creation / Implementation Feasibility

On site Prefabrication system ran by resident/house owner for efficient mass production of building components. Bamboo housing needs to be developed in industrial scale to contribute towards housing of millions of homeless people in the world. Industries in turn provide large scale employment, which is an economic necessity in most developing countries.


The material creates job opportunities because many products can be made from it with low capital investments. The precondition for this is social structure, mainly in the villages, that fosters cooperatives, and education and training in making bamboo products.


DIY Prefab Concrete Foundation for Bamboo column:

Bamboo should not have any prolonged direct contact with the soil, particularly wet soil. The bamboo column is extended at the lower end using concrete, which penetrates the bamboo for about 400mm (the length of an internode) and extends outside the column for over 600mm. The concrete is poured into the bamboo culm kept in upside-down position. A piece of PVC tube, cut lengthways and wrapped around the bamboo is used as formwork.


Key Aspects for Successful and Sustainable Implementation

-Collecting skills, innovative knowledge and information from locals and organizations as well as industry in developed world and R&D institutions which are good at using bamboo or straw to make building materials. i.e. rammed earth institute, Texas A&M

-fomenting knowledge and awareness on benefits and potentials of bamboo for cultivation so readily available on site at almost zero cost.

-establishing a network of construction system amongst residents providing distribution of work and economical sustainability.

-buildings that do not require costly imported materials, extensive transportation; more importantly buildings which do not sacrifice human freedom and dignity.

-setting up an efficient supply chain for materials that need transport and make the materials reach residents directly.

-conducting research on different climates and adaptability of bamboo and straw.

-looking for private sector industries that can provide technical input (plug in pod components-upgradability and social status, for future provision of sanitation and energy as conditions improve and resident are able to afford them-progressive improvement of living environments-houses) as well as setting up a chain of supply-demand structure directly with residents as clients.

Climatic Considerations

How to make design which is adaptable in cool environments and can also be implemented for hot environments.

1. Material Selection: For hot climates thickness of the material and weight provides good resistance to heat gain during day but operable or light permeable conditions are required for the heat to be dissipated during night time.

2. Construction Design: In order to minimize the embodied energy of materials such as brick or concrete, local natural materials are favored which can also be produced on site by actual residents therefore reducing cost to almost nil.

Double layering façade systems can control heat gain as convective insulation while reducing material bulk and reducing load therefore need for heavy foundations. Also favorable for earthquake prone areas.

3. Ventilation: Materials can be combined in different ways in order to adapt to different climatic/environmental conditions.

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