Bamboo pioneered in Bhutanese construction
In December 2011, the Bhutanese government inaugurated the first bamboo-framed, traditional-style house in the country. Designed and constructed by INBAR, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and carpenters from all over Bhutan, the 100m² building in Tingtibi, Zhemgang District, is now the permanent residence of the Tingtibi Community Chief.
Bamboos are well known for their lightweight, flexible, strong poles that enhance the earthquake resistance of the buildings they are used to construct. Thirty species grow in Bhutan, including Bambusa balcooa, B. nutans and B. tulda. Although these are all excellent construction materials and are used widely in adjacent countries, in Bhutan their potential has never been tested, as bamboos there have only ever been used as infill materials in traditional timber-framed houses.
Using INBAR’s experiences of bamboo house design and construction in other parts of South Asia, INBAR architects and Bhutanese colleagues adapted a traditional Bhutanese timber house design for bamboo, aiming to demonstrate how to use bamboo as an effective alternative to timber, whilst ensuring culturally acceptability of the house. The partners also wanted to develop the skills of the over 20 carpenters to build with bamboo – in order that they can return to their villages to build with bamboo themselves, and to train colleagues to do likewise – and to raise awareness of the potential bamboo has to contribute to national growth and development.
The new structure uses local bamboo as the framework of the house and for many of the walls, with timber still used for some joints, whilst the use of traditional adobe walling and a thatched roof ensures that all materials, except the cement used in the foundations, were sourced locally. The house uses approximately 25.5 m3 less wood than an equivalent timber-framed home, and is nearly half the price, at a cost of US$140/m². The house is built to last, with an expected life-span of at least 20 years, and its earthquake resistance has already been proven – immediately after completion in September 2011 the house withstood shocks from an earthquake in nearby Sikkim, India, without suffering any damage.
This innovative project has shown that bamboo buildings clearly have the potential to help Bhutan develop sustainably, and as a result, the government now plans to construct three more bamboo structures in 2012 with INBAR’s support.
(Excerpt of article by INBAR. NOT AFFILIATED WITH LAMBOO)
Lamboo is actively involved in land management in the developing world to ensure that bamboo resources are handled in a sustainable fashion so that it can reach its full potential as the building material of the future. Bamboo will be one of the solutions to depleting timber reserves with its rapid growth and higher carbon reduction/oxygen production. Learn more about the benefits of bamboo (here
) and stay connected for further developments in the use of this material within the building industry.
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Blog by: Dustin Dennison