Digitally woven bamboo pavilion keeps an old tradition alive (Video)

University of Hong Kong
© University of Hong Kong

All over the world, a diverse array of traditional building techniques exist, each developing as a result of local peculiarities of climate, resource availability and cultural practices. Hoping to revive the complex and labour-intensive art of traditional bamboo weaving, architecture students from the University of Hong Kong created this woven bamboo pavilion, combining age-old techniques with digital tools.

Seen over at Dezeen, the Sun Room is located in China's Fujian province, a few kilometres from the village of Peitian. It was created with a team of local craftspeople and the village's last living bamboo weaver. The design's concept comes from the area's tea houses, which were typically used as places of rest and repose for farmers during hot or inclement weather during the work day, or as community gathering spots.

University of Hong Kong© University of Hong Kong

According to Donn Holohan, the teacher who oversaw the project, the aim was to keep these traditional buildings alive:

Historically, these pavilions were often used by craftsmen to demonstrate their skill or to trial new construction methodologies. Today these structures have, for the most part, been replaced by generic outbuildings in concrete and brick. The craft of bamboo weaving is in drastic decline with only one practicing artisan remaining in Peitian.

The pavilion has a pine wood structural framework, which is covered with an outer envelope of woven bamboo. It was sited and constructed to maximize protection from wind and sun, while also offering open views out to the landscape.

University of Hong Kong© University of Hong Kong
University of Hong Kong© University of Hong Kong
University of Hong Kong© University of Hong Kong
University of Hong Kong© University of Hong Kong
University of Hong Kong© University of Hong Kong

The pavilion's unconventional form was facilitated by the use of digital design tools, including the use of computer-aided design software, paired with the use of automated manufacturing tools. Says Holohan:

The overall weaving pattern was developed simultaneously, and adjusted in relationship to the flexibility and dimensional limits of the bamboo. Tools and jigs were developed and then digitally fabricated at HKU using the faculty CNC and robotic equipment. These elements along with the pattern maps allowed the villagers to achieve the complex form without a prior training in the craft of bamboo weaving.

University of Hong Kong© University of Hong Kong

Even with the high-tech design approach, materials had to be hand-carried the old-fashioned way, thanks to the site's inaccessibility by road. It's a marriage of old and new, with the new ways giving old traditions a new lease on life and fresh meaning in ever-evolving times. More over at University of Hong Kong.

Tags: Architecture | Bamboo | Downloadable Design | Hong Kong | Universities | video

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