Bamboo has been used as a building material for centuries, however traditional methods of construction with bamboo are generally convoluted, and do not take advantage of the inherent structural qualities of the material.
A single culm of madake bamboo can support approximately 1.2 tones of vertical load once fully grown. A bamboo shoot in the right climatic conditions can reach full height of 15 meters in just 30 days. Once bamboo is cut it becomes susceptible to moisture and pests. The biggest challenge in traditional bamboo construction is how to connect the poles to the footings. Nature has already solved this problem with a root system to anchor the plant to the ground.
This investigation tries using the structural possibilities of bamboo whilst it is living. The plant is allowed to grow through a grid floor and roof structure initially held in place with scaffolding. Metal plates are inserted into this grid structure where bamboo ‘columns’ are desired. As the plant matures and increases in girth it grows into the steel ring forming the structural connection to the floor and roof plates.
The project is presently being tested at the Beppu Bamboo Research Center, Japan.