Elemental and
Experimental
Materials
renewable, straw
b
a
l
e, environmenta
lly
sourced, low-V
OC
,
o -the-shelf,
p
os
t
consume
r
Shigeru Ban Architects,
Bamboo Furniture House, Beijing, China
For this house in a development outside
of Beijing, the architect chose bamboo, an
easily grown indigenous plant, to develop
new types of structural laminated lumber.
Inspired by the laminated bamboo plywood
commonly used for concrete framework, the
rm produced a prototype lumber, working
with a local factory that laminated bamboo
strips with glue. Laminated bamboo lumber
and plywood appear throughout the house:
as a modular framing system, as beams, and
as fi nishes on interior and exterior walls.  e
woven assembly of the plywood imbues the
material with a deeply tactile quality.
143
Above e house employs a prefabricated,
modularized partition system, made with
laminated bamboo studs and laminated bam-
boo plywood surfaces. Most of the modules
along the hall facing the courtyard double as
the doors or backs of modular storage units.
e result is a deep functional wall on either
side of the court. In a few locations, the backs
of these cabinets form the outside wall of the
house, with exterior fi nish applied over wa-
terproo ng. e bamboo reads primarily as a
horizontal zone between the lighter expanses
of fl oor, ceiling, and sky beyond.
144 Sustainable Environments
Elemental and Experimental Materials
extra waterproof sheet for overlapping
exterior bamboo fi nish
waterproof sheet
structural bamboo plywood
plywood backboard
insulation
laminated bamboo stud
interior bamboo fi nish
900 mm (2'-11
1
/
2
")
exterior bamboo fi nish
laminated bamboo cross brace
bamboo plywood joint
laminated bamboo stud
line of fl oor fi nish
490 mm (19
1
/
4
")
475 mm (18
3
/
4
")
250 mm (9
7
/
8
")1 000 mm (3'-3
3
/
8
")1 000 mm (3'-3
3
/
8
")250 mm (9
7
/
8
")
Above and Left Modular panels line the
outer walls of the house, where the texture
more closely resembles that of vertical siding.
e bamboo lumber prototype was tested to
meet Japanese government standards, and its
strength lies between that of timber and steel.
In a part of the world where conventional
lumber products are not readily available, the
laminated bamboo lumber, once developed
as an industry, would be inexpensive and
make light construction a viable option for
small structures.
145
146 Sustainable Environments

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