You have probably noticed by now how much we love bamboo here at Inhabitat. We’re constantly amazed at the qualities bamboo has to offer as a rapidly renewable resource: it’s strong, pliable, and pretty good looking, too. But Kengo Kuma‘s Great (Bamboo) Wall house is the first project we’ve profiled for using bamboo as a symbolic element of design, not to mention its physical attributes.

Kengo Kuma’s Great Bamboo Wall was part of an initiative to develop a series of houses, all by Asian architects along the Great Wall of China. The significance of building alongside such a monumental structure was key to Kuma’s interpretation of the project. The solidity of China’s Great Wall was first and foremost a division, to insulate both their territory and culture from the outside. Kuma’s bamboo walls, however, while dividing space, were designed to contrast the monument in their fragility and transparency.

Kuma varied the spacing and thickness of the bamboo canes creating the walls of the house, each defining a different level of fluidity from one space to the next. Dappled light penetrates between the thin stalks, as though the house were literally built from the forests of Asia. Kuma is in a sense a traditionalist, aiming to restore the tradition of Japanese buildings. However his approach is a modern one, in which he focuses on “light and natural materials to get a new kind of transparency.”

One of Kuma’s more recent projects, the Lotus House, extends these ideas of transparency, blurring the delineation of the building’s enclosure. Built out of “holes,” a matrix of thin travertine plates creates a porous skin, allowing wind and light to penetrate. Kuma describes his architecture as a “frame of nature. With it we can experience nature more deeply and more intimately.”

+ Kengo Kuma
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  1. kwin March 13, 2009 at 6:36 am

    Bamboo is very relaxing in different ways,design is very much beautiful.Im shela an architecture student of university of mindanao i currently doing my thesis “indaustrial park” i would like to have some reference about bamboo design for my proposal this will give a good architectural character for my building to promote green building design and native concept with a very special features of bamboo.Hope that you can help me.

  2. me_lisa August 9, 2008 at 1:17 am

    hi, this is melisa, an architecture student from university of st.louis tuguegarao, philippines.
    wow amazing projects! can i have some references for my thesis because it’s timely the title of my thesis is ” BAMBOO-BASED HOUSING SYSTEM” I hope you can help me.Thank you very much and I’m looking forward for your response. thanks and godspeed!

  3. Inhabitat » Blog ... June 16, 2006 at 7:57 pm

    […] The wonder material of bamboo continues to amaze us with its potential. From plywood, to salad bowls, to the ethereal structures of Kengo Kuma, this sustainable, structural grass seems to have endless possibilities. Now, Bamboo Living is sponsoring an international competition to design buildings out of bamboo. The competition is open to all students, architects, and designers, with the goal of raising awareness of the ecological benefits of using bamboo as both a material and a technology. […]

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