Despite having a a strength on par with steel and being one of the fastest-growing plants in the world, bamboo has been relatively underused in architecture. It’s most frequently seen as scaffolding or as a decorative element, and more recently flattened and laminated into flooring planks. Once treated to resist insects and rot, the woody plant becomes a remarkably sustainable alternative to other materials, and it exhibits a structural integrity strong enough to warrant its use in disaster-resistant housing.
Green Ladder Pavilion
Designed to resemble a dense forest, this bamboo pavilion is the work of Vietnamese architect Vo Trong Nghia for Sydney’s Sherman Contemporary Art Foundation Gallery. The temporary structure was built in 2016 to highlight the strength of bamboo as a construction material.
The Norwegian Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010, which showcased sustainable architecture, was made using timber and sheets of laminated bamboo. Helen & Hard designed the structure to look like a canopy of trees.
Dubbed Flower Tower, this 2004 building by architect Edouard François is a 10-story residential structure in Paris’s 17th arrondissement. The 380 pots of bamboo cannot be removed and are automatically watered with recycled rainwater.
Bangkok Tree House
Prized for its durability and abundance, bamboo is the primary building material for the Bangkok Tree House, a hotel on the city’s Phra Pradaeng Peninsula. In this lounge space, the material is both decorative and structural—it is used in the ceiling and floor.
S House 2
Made using bamboo and coconut leaves on a concrete frame, S House 2 by Vo Trong Nghia Architects is an affordable, sustainable home in Vietnam’s Mekong delta that is designed to withstand natural disasters.
Built in 2015 for Beijing Design Week, Rising Canes is a prototype bamboo pavilion that illustrates the basic unit of construction for architecture firm Penda’s future hotel, One with the Birds.