Tag Archives: straw bale building

Buildings of the Future With Foundations in the Ancient Past

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UPDATE! This post was originally published on December 16, 2014. In the post below we discussed some ancient building techniques that are being employed in creative and practical ways. These techniques, while thousands of years old, are being utilized in modern constructions because they are sturdy, economical, efficient and sustainable. Today we’re bringing you one more ancient innovation: bamboo. Bamboo is one of the oldest building materials and has been used extensively in South America, Africa and especially Southeast Asia, all areas where it grows in abundance. Incredibly, even though bamboo is strong, beautiful and plentiful, in ancient times it was thought of only as a building material for the very poor.[1] Those who could not afford more lavish materials were forced to pull from their surroundings, and since bamboo was always at hand, it became the most employed. Even today in China, bamboo is referred to as “the poor man’s timber” and is not “accepted as a modern building material.”[2] However, this opinion is rapidly changing as forward-thinking architects around the world have begun to praise bamboo’s unique and valuable qualities. For example, bamboo is light and flexible, and bamboo buildings have been found to withstand earthquakes far better than those made from other more modern materials.[3] Also, while wood can take several decades to mature and be harvested, most bamboo can be harvested after growing for three to six years. In fact, there is one species that only takes two months to mature.[4] Compared to other building materials, bamboo can be processed with relatively little energy and only a limited amount is needed to build an entire house.[5] It can be combined with plywood and steel to create uniquely strong buildings able to withstand natural disasters.[6] Continue reading