Bamboo has been part of construction ever since humans started building shelters. Over the years, the usage of bamboo persisted majorly in the regions of South Asia, South-East Asia, East Asia possibly owing to its cultural relevance in these regions or easy availability. However, the growing concrete jungle is making designers rethink sustainability and construction material choices. And slowly but steadily, bamboo is making its way back to construction and gaining popularity among people who are conscious about the earth and ecosystem.
Let’s take a look at one such bamboo hut made for a family who wanted to build a gathering place for their huge joint family. The initial idea proposed to them was a state of the art building with all modern facilities. Though they liked the initial design, they were fascinated with the bamboo clubhouse that we developed at Organo Naandi. Since it was a personal retreat right outside their house courtyard, they were keen on a similar sustainable structure.
It was an open plot adjacent to their house which needed a complete makeover. Our designers came up with a plan of a domical bamboo structure, a self-sustaining bio pool, a small gazebo, and plenty of open areas with panoramic landscaping. The family loved the idea and gave an absolute go-ahead to the design.
The Living Aquatic System…
A natural pond with aquatic flora and fauna is the main attraction of this place. It is constructed in a sustainable way with gunny bags dipped in cement and layered with chicken mesh instead of concrete. The water quality inside the pool is managed by the pro-bacteria which was growing along with the pool. A beautiful gazebo was also built alongside. Rufus Monterio team from Bangalore, a specialist in building living aquatic systems, helped us put together this structure.
The landscape around was also planted with the idea to give greenery and some privacy to the area. The plant palette in this garden ranges from Comocarpus, Filicium, to Silveroaks. All these plants were procured from local nurseries which was also a reason for the cost-effectiveness.
The Bamboo Hut…
The bamboo hut that hosts all their family gatherings is the show-stopper here. The base of the bamboo hut is made of large arches embedded in concrete on an area spanning 7 by 11 meters. Bamboos were bundled and clamped together with industrial crimping machines so that it doesn’t get worn off. Other than these, reinforcement rods were also put together to act as guidance. The domical shape of the structure also helped in transferring the load to the edges from the centre.
Locally available material and labour were used for construction. The bamboo used for construction was procured from the Bhadrachalam forest area. Bamboo treatment was done the local way by soaking it in water and drying afterwards. Pest repellents were applied for protection and longevity. The roof thatch was also gathered from the local sources.
The low-hanging roof design of this structure provides ample shade which helps in reducing heat gain and makes it energy efficient. The exterior plants also help in lessening heat gain and provide a cool breeze.
Challenges of Bamboo Structures…
Sun and rain are the two major challenges of bamboo structures. The low hanging roof and domical structure could prevent the damages in both cases to an extent. Pest attack is the next major challenge for bamboo especially if the bamboo is not cured correctly.
For this particular structure, the dense plantation and water body invite more pests. An easy and sustainable solution to this problem was the placement of mosquito mesh. It helped in controlling pests from entering the bamboo hut and made evenings pleasant inside with zero mosquito problems.
The maintenance needed for bamboo structures is less compared to other construction methods. Durability can be managed with some basic care and attention that includes replacing damaged/spoiled bamboo (reclamping can be done with new bamboo), pest control, replacement of thatch in every 3 years, etc. Though bamboo has the characteristics of being fire retardant, the thatch is not. Therefore, some precautionary methods like dampening the thatch during peak summer or festival times can save it from fire accidents.
The best part of bamboo structures is that the overall construction cost is absolutely different from conventional structures. This entire project was built for an approximate cost of 18 to 20 lakh. Thanks to the local materials and local labour.
Round the clock, throughout the year, this bamboo hut changes its form from being a party hall to a gathering space to a playground or even a meditation hub.
Insights from Nagesh Battula, Founder & Managing Director, FHD Group.
Written by Minu Aravind.
Metaphor began its journey as an Interior Design company two decades ago and before long
People have used solar power as far back in history as the 7th century B.C.
Transforming someone’s dream into reality isn’t an easy task, especially when you are building their home.
Being frugal is always a challenge for any designer, especially for a design-build firm like ours.