Thursday, May 9, 2013

Bamboo House Details ~ Floats when it floods ~ by H&P Architects


Affordable bamboo housing floats when it floods

© H&P Architects
Creating dwellings that can stand up to the extreme forces of nature presents a challenging design problem, no matter the locale. Hoping to address the issue of extensive loss of homes and displacement due to severe flooding in Southeast Asia, Vietnamese design firm H&P Architects created this low-cost, disaster-resistant housing prototype that actually floats atop a base made of reused oil drums.

© H&P Architects

© H&P Architects
Made with locally-abundant bamboo, natural thatching and inspired by traditional building techniques, the design is secured together using a system of anchors and ties. The unit is structurally anchored with welded steel piles that still allows for the structure's up and down movement during floods, a crucial element to its disaster resistance. There's also a rainwater harvesting system, and a one-way valve that starts up backup support systems when floods do arrive.

© H&P Architects

© H&P Architects
There are suspended bamboo section on the unit's facades that act as vertical gardens -- a nice feature, considering that these may be able to survive much better in a deluge than ground-based plantings.

© H&P Architects
The bamboo roof is made up of operable louvers, which open the inside to natural cross-ventilation in this humid climate. But when disaster strikes, the whole house can be closed off to protect its inhabitants.

© H&P Architects
Its modular design means that the basic configuration fits families of six or can be expanded with an addition to fit eight people. The units are intended to cost under USD $2,000 and will be simple enough to build so that villagers can assemble their own homes on-site. It's an intriguing and sensitive design that sources its effectiveness from local materials, techniques and labour, and will no doubt help families adapt better in emergency situations. More over at H&P Architects.



  • freedomev  a month ago

    Looks great except for some details.
    The roof is far too complicated, leaky, hard to build with bamboo when far more simple, stronger, waterproof methods are available.
    Next while it will float maybe it can easily get blown over as designed and flooding many times comes with high winds. You need the drums on the outside edges to stability especially since this is a tall lightweight house.
    And those drums need care at least 2x's/yr cleaned of rust and those spots painted. Or by the time you need them they well be useless rust balls in the tropics.
    They would be better off with bamboo floats and use them for the floor beams saving much work, money.

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      PennyStinkard  freedomev  a month ago

      I agree with everything you said, with the possible exception of the roof. The flaps are a good idea and will go a long way toward keeping the house tolerably cool. I'd lose the triangular shape of the flaps for a conventional square, and I'd slightly reduce the size of the openings, I think, to simplify it and decrease water infiltration.

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        freedomev  PennyStinkard  a month ago

        I never said don't use the roof opening/flaps, just better, easier, faster ways to build them.
        I doubt a local would build the style of roof for themselves as they would take one look and laugh, what a foolish design.
        Nor would they be fooled by the narrow floatation base and they'd have a good laugh at that too.
        Fact is they likely just roll up 2-3 hulls of bamboo and build on it like they have for 1,000's of yrs.

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        shawn_non_anonymous  freedomev  7 hours ago

        As it is riding up on poles, the floatation base is sufficient as designed. Placing the drums at the edges increases exposure to the elements, too.
        The flat, central part of the roof confuses me. Tropical homes have steep roofs to get as much water off as quickly as possible. A flat roof is an invitation to drips.
        The larger issue with flooding will be objects moving by at high speed colliding with the home.

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        bobco85  a month ago

        I'd like to see them build a prototype of this and test it out in various flood conditions. It's a cool idea, and hopefully they can find the right solution.
        Also, could it be made tsunami-resistant? Maybe they'll come up with that for v2.0!

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          PennyStinkard  a month ago

          Really cool concept. I would love to see it prototyped.

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            laurel Standley  a month ago

            What a beautiful design (agree that it may need more water proofing). But love the aspects such as the vertical garden, the sustainable use of local materials, and the insight to put the houses on pilings like they're looking into in the Netherlands.

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              Galactic Command  a month ago

              It's look like the designer never seen a flood :)

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                Green Communities Consulting  10 days ago

                Here in Burma we use a combination of leaf and bamboo roofing. They last through monsoon season and keep the interior dry. However, a down side to this is the up-keep. Leaf roofs have a maximum lifespan of around 2 years. While I agree that there are better materials and/or methods, the idea is to use cheap locally sourced materials, metals have a huge upfront cost while bamboo can be grown on site for roof replacement.

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