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Article: Bamboo, the winning material for sustainable construction

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Bamboo, the winning material for sustainable construction

NorthbyNorth's love for bamboo goes much further than the beautiful high quality bamboo patio furniture we produce. We are committed to sustainability and to helping the planet. Here, we've done some research to find out what role bamboo can play in delivering sustainable, low-cost buildings, which we'd like to share with you.

Soanes Medal Award

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

Strong and sustainable bamboo

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

Bangladesh is exposed to extreme weather patterns and it is common practice in poorer areas to simply pack up a home and move it. Conversely, the permanent nature of the buildings helps preserve their lifespan.

Bamboo Architecture in Asia

Of course, bamboo houses are nothing new, they have been used to build 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 has had tall one-story bamboo houses for centuries.

Cities of the future

But in recent years there has been a big change. Instead of seeing bamboo houses as primitive structures, they are considered to be at the forefront of sustainable development. Native Filipino chartered surveyor, Earl Patrick Forlales, is considered a bamboo housing pioneer. After winning 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' Filipino huts, they are easy to assemble and can last up to 50 years. In 2021, it is estimated that there were about 4.5 million homeless people in the Philippines and internationally. Therefore, this type of project offers a real hope of providing sustainable and affordable housing throughout the Philippines and the rest of Asia where bamboo grows in abundance.

Northbynorth's bamboo patio furniture is made from bamboo grown in Vietnam. If you would like to view the selection of bamboo furniture for sale, please visit our online store at

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