Bamboo is one of the most environmental friendly construction materials. It is one of the fastest growing and highest yielding renewable natural resource making it a good substitute to wood in mitigating pressure on natural forests.
Bamboo has a great potential to solve the scarcity of sustainable building materials for high-end and affordable buildings in both urban as well as rural areas. Recent examples from Europe, South-America and Asia have shown that bamboo can be used to make modern bridges, airports, and even luxury condominiums in addition to affordable, culturally sensitive, flood affected and earthquake resistant small family homes.
The flood fury in India claims many lives and renders millions homeless every year. Post floods, one of the key issues that every state faces is how to build homes for the homeless in a manner that is quick, affordable and in some way able to withstand future floods.
Innovative bamboo homes can be great tool for driving affordable housing, especially in flood affected areas.
Affordable bamboo housing that floats when it floods
Bamboo homes can surely address the issue of extensive loss of homes and displacement due to severe flooding. Recently, I came across a design by a Vietnamese architect firm who has created a low-cost, flood-resistant housing prototype made of bamboo that actually floats atop a base made of reused oil drums.
Made with bamboo, natural thatching and inspired by traditional building techniques, the design ensured that the units are anchored with welded steel piles in such a way that it allows the houses to withstand up and down movement during floods. There’s also a rainwater harvesting system, and a one-way valve that starts up backup support systems when floods do arrive. Such a plan can surely be engineered to enable for mass-production especially in states like Assam who faces flood fury every year. The local youth and villagers can be empowered through proper training to build such units themselves over a period of time.
Philippines has some of the poorest people in the world whose troubles are compounded by typhoons and floods. A global architectural design contest formed by a partnership of the Quezon City government, Climate Change Commission, MyShelter Foundation, United Architects of the Philippines, and Philippine White Helmets was floated to come up with ideas to face such natural calamities. One of the winning projects was ‘Disaster-Proof Bamboo Housing’.
The housing units and community halls are built on stilts with side elevation designed to avoid flooding and withstand storms. Moreover, the landscape is designed to direct the water from the cluster housing units toward the lower elevation and to absorb storm water as much as it can. The idea is that in the event of storms and typhoons when plugin bamboo units are destroyed, they can be easily and inexpensively rebuilt and plugged into the existing core.