Overshadowed by steel, brick and concrete, bamboo is no longer a major material for everyday Malaysian construction. Yet Cyberjaya-based architectural firm Eleena Jamil Architect believes that the sustainable material should and can join the ranks of modern construction materials. To prove that bamboo is not only a sustainable building material but also a viable one for long-term construction projects, the architects have designed Bamboo Terrace Homes, an eco-friendly proposal for mass contemporary housing built predominately from locally harvested bamboo.

rendering of people walking near bamboo structures

Modeled after the typical 22-foot-wide terrace houses found across Malaysia, Eleena Jamil Architect proposed Bamboo Terrace Homes can be used in both urban and suburban areas. Although bamboo has historically been used in Malaysian architecture, the material fell by the wayside due to its low natural resistance to pests and rot when alternative materials, such as steel and brick, rose to prominence. However, the architects said that properly treated and preserved bamboo is strong and resilient enough to be used as a long-term building material.

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rendering of view from balcony of bamboo home
rendering of people on balcony looking at other bamboo houses

In their proposal, treated bamboo forms the main structures save for the bathroom enclosures, which will be made of prefabricated lightweight concrete volumes to keep moisture away from the structural bamboo components. The structural bamboo frames would be prefabricated, mass-produced and flat-packed to reduce costs and environmental impact. Bamboo columns would be used to hold up the engineered bamboo floors and roofs, while the internal and external walls would be built from a lightweight bamboo composite board system.

rendering of gardens between buildings
rendering of shared gardens in front of bamboo building

According to Eleena Jamil Architect, the Bamboo Terrace Homes would have lower construction costs and a small carbon footprint as compared to standard terrace homes without compromising quality of living. Each contemporary house would include an internal courtyard, balconies and an open-plan floor layout to enhance flexibility. Ample natural light and ventilation would be welcomed indoors through large glazed openings, while large overhangs and balconies reduce heat gain. The proposal is only in the conceptual phase; however, the firm hopes that the design will inspire developers and the local government to adopt bamboo as a sustainable building material.

+ Eleena Jamil Architect

Image via Eleena Jamil Architect