On a slope near the village of Karjat, India, a team of architects have begun to envision a modern, 3-story building that will peer out into the valley through a veil of bamboo poles. Designed by Architecture Brio, the building will act as a staff dormitory for the NGO Magic Bus. The building’s structure is modern and rectangular, but softened by the more rustic feel of its bamboo exterior. By using bamboo, a rapidly renewable resource, as a primary supporting material, the building’s design is both sustainable and feels like an organic manifestation of the surrounding landscape.
Architecture Brio‘s project combines natural and local materials such as bamboo with wood, concrete and steel. Designed with the help of engineer Vilas Gore of GeoScience Services, the building’s structural system decreases its load on the bamboo poles. The outer columns are composed of two bamboo poles connected by steel strips. To support the interior, steel dowels are inserted between the columns and coupled with trusses made of pre-cast concrete and steel tension cables that span between.
To make the building livable during all seasons, the architects had to consider the conditions during the sweltering summer as well as the winter months, when stormy monsoons prevail. A compromise was found by using an open design that allows winds to flow through and provides ample shade, but also features interior spaces that are protected from the elements. The building’s narrow shape provides greater access to breezes while a waterproof interior is assured with wall panels made of split bamboo and covered with reinforced plaster on the inside.
A simple assortment of materials creates a minimalist aesthetic inside the structure. Featuring bamboo for columns and walls, and natural and polished stone for floors, the interior exudes a clean and humble character that matches the bamboo verticality of the exterior.
Intending to spur eco-friendly changes within the Indian construction industry, the ambitious Dutch architect Robert Verrijt and Indian architect Shefali Balwani of Architecture Brio have created an exciting example of engineering prowess, innovative aesthetic, and altogether- sustainable design.