Tents have a special allure. For millennia, they were considered a home that moved along with its owners during long, nomadic migrations. But the tent as outdoor shelter is evolving; they have been converted into luxury homes, used inside homes to reduce heating bills, and even hidden in shoes, should you ever get the urge to lie down and sleep just about anywhere.
Tent hotels are another variation on this theme; created for a competition that asked designers to create low-impact tent hotels, Vienna and Beijing based design collective Penda envisions the tent as a modular form of bamboo construction that can either be stacked up vertically or spread out horizontally in many configurations.
Seen over at Dezeen, and looking very much like a modernist teepee and a three-dimensional iteration of a well-known triangular fractal form, Penda's One With the Birds tent hotel is a flexible structure that is based on a simple joint of overlapped bamboo that is doubled and repeated to create stability and space. The designers were also inspired by the ubiquitous use and re-use of bamboo in China for scaffolding during high-rise construction, as well as its local abundance.
The scheme relies on a grid with a span of 4.7 metres (185 inches), with eight structural rods combined at each joint, allowing the system to bear large loads. The versatility of the system means that more bamboo can be added to the framework as needed, with more joints translating to more structural stability.
Climbing plants could be allowed to grow on the frame, creating a truly lush place. Penda's Chris Precht states that
The structure could grow as tall as the trees. Connected to the verticality of the trees, we can experience a forest from the perspective of a child climbing a tree, in between the treetops, with the birds – fully connected with nature in 3D and HD.
Like their Asian contemporaries, the designers say that the tent structure's joints would be held together with rope, so that the structure can be disassembled and reused on future sites -- making it potentially applicable in emergencies or disaster zones. More over at Penda and Dezeen.