The Bamboo Chapel

A beautiful bamboo construction occupies our article today, and a construction and environmental challenge.

The Wind and Water Bar

Hi, if you are half adventurer as me, you will love to visit the Ilha do Corvo (Crow Island), the island smallest and most remote of the archipelago of the Azores. It has 17 kilometers from surface, a village called Vila do Corvo (of course) and four hundred inhabitants. They have told me that in the only prison on the island never have entered a prisoner… and I think is true because there are so few… Who will put in jail a relative? I have fallen them very well and they will leave me to make my beautiful construction provided that I use their famous stone of black basalt, they did not have to ask for it!

Today I have the restless mind and, after seeing the building that I bring, I liked to do as Miguel Ángel (best known for Michelángelo Buonarroti) who made the paintings of the Sistine Chapel (have you heard of it?), the idea is simple, and I think that will you give me reason, to me, Rodolfo, as soon as I explain to you (later). As I know that you liked the dome of glass, you will love this new prodigy of the construction, this time with a vegetal element: the bamboo.

The Wind and Water Bar

Fourteenth Stop: The Bamboo Chapel
The chances of the construction lead us on this occasion to the Thu Dau Mot town, in Binh duong, Viet Nam, to a building in the middle of an artificial lake. The architectural firm that designed the project is Vo Trong Nghia, true specialists in constructions of bamboo as they already demonstrated with several works as, for example, the pavilion of Viet Nam for Expo China 2010. This beautiful structure of bamboo has already received some international architecture Awards: Green Good Design Award 2010, FuturArc 2011 or 2011 Arcasia Awards (I decided one of this awards!).

The Wind and Water Bar uses the energy of the wind and the cold water of the lake for natural ventilation of indoor air. On the roof there is a skylight of 1.5 meters in diameter which evacuates the hot air that focuses on building (hot air rises, cold air falls) and allows the partial lighting of the enclosure. The height of the dome is 10 meters, the width is 15 and its surface is 270 square meters. The construction lasted about 3 months and the structural system is based on a series of prefabricated porches that revolve around the central axis of the building, these porticos are made with several «reeds» of bamboo united each other.

The Wind and Water Bar

To site can be accessed through a path of stones spanning the artificial lake, I do not I fell, of course, but my partner tested the coldness of the Vietnamese water! All construction has covered with a plant species that is introduced into the water, giving the impression of «birth» of the Lake, sublime. To finish with the description (I have hurry) I will say that the interior is completely done with bamboo: lamps, staircases, tables and chairs, pillars… all a waste of engineering with this vegetable.

Rods to build. The bamboo is a plant that needs a warm atmosphere so their natural habitat is the tropical climate.  There are many classes and subclasses of bamboo and are plants that reach from the meter in height up to (care) 30 meters, can grow up to half a meter daily, which is a great advantage if we are going to use it commercially. They can withstand temperatures up to – 20°C, although it is normal that they remain well between 30 and 42°C.

The bamboo has been used in the construction since the beginning of humanity in areas where exist, of course, has a great resistance to traction and to compression but, without rejecting this, the best quality that possesses is the flexibility:  the material is folded or cede to the pressures which are applied without they break it or deteriorate. Another important quality of the bamboo stems from its plant condition: you can carve it and can be divided it without losing its mechanical qualities.

The Wind and Water Bar

The bamboo is attached by ropes, wires or mortising, are not typically used screws or studs because they may cause cracks, but if you use them will have to reinforce the indoor area with some rigid filler. There are many types of mortising: dovetail, form of male-female union, key, etc. The toughest area of the reeds is the knots, therefore, we will make sure that, in the structures, the knots will receive the loads. Of course if we use two types of joints we will give longer life to our building.

The Proposal. As I promised at the beginning of this article I have a very special proposal to the bamboo. If we based us on the genius of Miguel Ángel we can perform a bamboo Chapel and paint it a beautiful picture, do you like the idea? Please, please… We can act in two ways: make the dome and mount a scaffold (may also use bamboo) where professionals perform their work; or, on the other hand, we can make a design where you specify areas of reeds that will be painted in one or another color… At the time of construction (if we do well) we will obtain a precious engraving… without having to assemble scaffolding!!  

This second option does not seem very difficult with the computer programs which have the practitioners today; I will show it to you with the time. Bye bye. 

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