How bamboo is becoming the winning material for sustainable building

How bamboo is becoming the winning material for sustainable building

NorthbyNorth’s love affair with bamboo goes way beyond the beautiful high quality bamboo terrace furniture, we committed to sustainability, to help the planet and of the course make life healthier for people.  To find out more, we’ve been looking into the role that bamboo can play in providing sustainable, low-cost buildings.

Soanes Medal Award

Bangladeshi architect Marina Tabassum (2021 recipient of the Soane Medal Award for architecture) has recently completed a project in Bangladesh using bamboo as her primary material. Her brief was to design low-cost impermanent buildings to house over 1 million Rohingya refugees living in Ukhiya, south-east Bangladesh.   

Strong and sustainable bamboo

Marina has explained that she chose to work with the corrugated iron and bamboo as these are the cheapest materials that can also be easily moved if and when required.  Bamboo is perfect for such conditions. It is lightweight, strong and resilient and grows fast, making it one of the most exciting sustainable building materials in the world.

Bangladesh is prone to extreme weather patterns and it is common practice in poorer areas to simply pack up a home and move it. Conversely, the impermanent nature of the buildings helps to maintain their longevity.

Bamboo architecture in Asia

Of course, Bamboo housing is nothing new, it has been used for building throughout Asia for thousands of years. The qualities that attracted Marina Tabassum to bamboo were strength, flexibility and the ability to harvest in just three years making it a staple material in countries across Asia, for example the Philippines have had elevated single-storey bamboo homes for centuries. 

Cities for our Future

However, in recent years there has been a sea change. Rather than seeing bamboo homes as  primitive structures, they are being considered at the cutting edge of sustainable development. Native Filipino chartered surveyor, Earl Patrick Forales, is considered to be a bamboo housing pioneer.  Having won the 2018  ‘Cities for our Future’ competition held by the British Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, he started a new company ‘Cubo’ dedicated to building prefabricated bamboo houses, to alleviate the housing crisis in the Philippines.

The houses are based on the traditional ‘Bahay Kubo’ Philippine huts, they are easily assembled and can last up to 50 years.  In 2021, it is estimated that there were around 4.5 million homeless people in the Philippines and internationally. Therefore, this type of project offers real hope of providing affordable sustainable housing, throughout the Philippines and the rest of Asia where bamboo grows in abundance.

Northbynorth’s bamboo terrace furniture is made from bamboo grown in Vietnam only using material plants for enhanced strength.  If you would like to view the range of bamboo furniture for sale you can visit our online store at





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