A glowing pavilion made from 473 bamboo poles was awarded Small Project of the Year in the 2016 World Architecture Festival awards. Designed by Chinese University of Hong Kong’s School of Architecture, the ZCB Bamboo Pavilion was built in the summer of 2015. The four-story-tall bamboo gridshell structure marries computational design and sustainable building materials to create a beautiful public space that promotes innovative and ecological design to the public.
The approximately 350-square-meter ZCB Bamboo Pavilion was built using Cantonese bamboo scaffolding techniques and it’s made from 475 large bamboo poles bent onsite and hand-tied together with metal wire. The pavilion sits in Kowloon Bay adjacent to the Zero Carbon Building (ZBC), a three-story plus-energy office building constructed in 2012 and topped with solar panels. In contrast to the ZBC’s square edges, the bamboo pavilion is curvaceous with a large diagrid shell structure that folds down into three hollow columns atop concrete footings.
The geometrically complex structure is lightweight and made with digital form-finding and real-time physics simulation tools that mitigate inconsistencies in the bamboo. A tailor-made white tensile fabric is stretched over the structure and its transparent quality creates a glowing effect when the pavilion is lit from the inside. The pavilion has a seating capacity of 200 people.
“Bamboo is a widely available, environmentally friendly material that grows abundantly and at remarkably high speeds in the Asia-Pacific region, Africa and the Americas,” says a statement on the Chinese University of Hong Kong School of Architecture website. “It is an excellent renewable natural resource which captures CO₂ and converts it into oxygen. It is strong, light and easy to process and transport. In Hong Kong, bamboo mostly appears in temporary theatres, scaffolding, or structures for religious festivals. Globally, it is usually applied as a surrogate for wood or steel, rather than in ways that utilise the material’s unique bending properties and strength. In contrast, the ZCB Bamboo Pavilion presents an alternative architectural application that maximises these latent material properties.”