These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level

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By Michele Koh Morollo
Flexible, durable, and fast-growing—it's no wonder bamboo has been nick-named "the green steel of the 21st century."

Did we mention it can help protect the environment, too? By absorbing high amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, bamboo is a wonderful natural resource for both temporary and permanent constructions. And fortunately, it's popularity is on the rise.

Below are five architecture and design firms that are pushing the limits with this eco-friendly material, all while creating beautiful, innovative bamboo infrastructure.

Vo Trong Nghia

The architects who originally referred to bamboo as "green steel" are Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia and Japanese architect Takashi Niwa of Ho Chi Minh City partnership Vo Trong Nghia Architects

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 1 of 18 - The Vietnam Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, which comprised of 46 bamboo "trees." 

The Vietnam Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, which comprised of 46 bamboo "trees." 

Renowned for their sustainable projects, this dynamic duo has won multiple green awards, including FutureArc Green Leadership and Green Good Design.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 2 of 18 - Inside Vietnam's Hay Hay restaurant and bar at The Naman Retreat hotel.

Inside Vietnam's Hay Hay restaurant and bar at The Naman Retreat hotel.

Some of their most acclaimed structures include the Vietnam Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015, the Son La Ceremony Dome, as well as the Hay Hay restaurant and bar at The Naman Retreat hotel in Danang, Vietnam.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 3 of 18 - The beautiful Son La Ceremony Dome by Vo Trong Nghia Architects.

The beautiful Son La Ceremony Dome by Vo Trong Nghia Architects.

The team's latest project is the Ting Xi Bamboo Restaurant in Xiamen, China, which will have 14 columns that fan out dynamically in four directions.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 4 of 18 - A quick look at the Ting Xi Bamboo Restaurant in Xiamen, China.

A quick look at the Ting Xi Bamboo Restaurant in Xiamen, China.

Penda

Vienna–based engineer Chris Precht and Beijing–based architect Dayong Sun joined forces to form the international design firm Penda

Together, they created Rising Cane, a bamboo structural system that was launched at Beijing Design Week in 2015.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 5 of 18 - The Rising Cane pavilion by Penda.

The Rising Cane pavilion by Penda.

Fully modular and ecological, Rising Cane works as a simple outdoor pavilion, but also has the potential to be developed for future hotels, schools, and even high-rise green buildings. 

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 6 of 18 - An outdoor pavilion with much potential for future innovations.

An outdoor pavilion with much potential for future innovations.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 7 of 18 - The future possibilities for Penda's Rising Cane system.

The future possibilities for Penda's Rising Cane system.

Ibuku

Another notable company is Ibuku, an eco-friendly architecture, design, and construction firm based in Bali, and led by founder and creative director Elora Hardy. 

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 8 of 18 - The Temple House in Green Village, Bali.

The Temple House in Green Village, Bali.

Inspired by the country's culture and landscape, Hardy founded Ibuku to help local craftsmen hone their skills in the hope of making Bali a global hub for bamboo architecture and innovation. 

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 9 of 18 - The stunning spa at Permata Ayung Estate in Bali.

The stunning spa at Permata Ayung Estate in Bali.

Her impressive projects include the eco-friendly Green Village—a residential community set along the Ayung River—and the nearby Green School, which offers children a curriculum that incorporates environmental education.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 10 of 18 - The River House in Green Village, Bali.

The River House in Green Village, Bali.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 11 of 18 - The captivating Cacao House in Green Village, Bali.

The captivating Cacao House in Green Village, Bali.

Kengo Kuma & Associates

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s bamboo-finished retail interiors, including his Great Bamboo Wall House, consistently reveal his poetic skills with the flexible material.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 12 of 18 - The Jugetsudo tea shop and cafe in Tokyo.

The Jugetsudo tea shop and cafe in Tokyo.

The Great Bamboo Wall House was part of a project in which 10 Asian architects were commissioned to design residences in a forested commune adjacent to the Great Wall of China. 

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 13 of 18 - A house by Kengo Kuma near the Great Wall of China.

A house by Kengo Kuma near the Great Wall of China.

Kuma’s plan was to leave the site’s existing geographically features intact, while also using locally sourced materials—such as bamboo—for the walls to create privacy. In turn, this natural resource further allowed good ventilation and light penetration.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 14 of 18 - A peek inside Pigment, a painting supply store in Japan by Kengo Kuma.

A peek inside Pigment, a painting supply store in Japan by Kengo Kuma.

Anna Heringer

With sustainability at its core, the mission of Germany–based studio Anna Heringer is to support local economies and foster ecological balance. 

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 15 of 18 - Above are the bamboo-woven hostels designed by Anna Heringer in China.

Above are the bamboo-woven hostels designed by Anna Heringer in China.

Interesting projects created by Heringer include the three hostels in the Chinese village of Baoxi—built by local artisans that combined bamboo-weaving techniques with rammed earth construction—and the METI School in Northern Bangladesh that was also constructed with the help of local workers.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 16 of 18 - Local Chinese craftsmen worked on this hostel designed by Heringer.

Local Chinese craftsmen worked on this hostel designed by Heringer.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 17 of 18 - The METI School in Northern Bangladesh.

The METI School in Northern Bangladesh.

These Designs Take Bamboo Infrastructure to a New Level - Photo 18 of 18 - Three hostels in the village of Baoxi located in China.

Three hostels in the village of Baoxi located in China.

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