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This Folio is intended as a research paper and is not meant to be sold but shared for inspiration and educational purposes. Compiled by Cave Urban, Sydney

Cave Urban Cave Urban was formed in 2010 to investigate vernacular lightweight structures and their relevance to contemporary design. What began as a means for research has developed into a practice that explores the intersection between art and architecture through the use of bamboo.

2011-16 Folio This first folio aims to explore bamboo projects across the world relating contemporary architecture to vernacular buildings. The folio is intended as an inspirational resource for bamboo building and design. It shows an international overview of temporary lightweight structures including selected works and collaborations by Cave Urban.


Anthropologist and Architect Paul Memmott (left) is the director of the Aboriginal Environments Research Centre in the School of Geography, Planning and Architecture at the University of Queensland. Since the 1970s his research has focused on Aboriginal people’s use of space and place, evolving into a study of the social anthropology of Aboriginal Australia. In 2007 Dr Memmott published Gunyah, Goondie & Wurley: the Aboriginal Architecture of Australia (2007). This is the first thorough attempt to document and analyse Aboriginal architecture. “Gunyah Goondie & Wurley fills an important need not only regarding Aboriginal Environments but as a model for other reviews and syntheses of vernacular design.”

– Memmott, P. (2007). Gunyah Goondie & Wurley: The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia. Preface

The sequence above shows the framework and cladding of a small wet-season dome, built in 1929 by an Aboriginal man of the Yintjingga tribe (pictured left) Cape York, Queensland. The structure was made of flexible saplings with paperbark (melaleuca) roof cladding draped around the frame. The small entry deterred mosquitoes and rain. Aboriginal architecture was temporal, adjusted or recreated seasonally in response to climate and lifestyle. These simple half dome shelters from the Western Desert are known as wiltja, a word also used to describe the shadow cast by a tree or rock. The facing page pictures a wiltja being built around a grieving Yankuntjatjara mother in 1971, where kin express sympathy and support by constructing the shelter.

Images from Memmott, P. (2007). Gunyah Goondie + Wurley:The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia. St Lucia:University of Queensland Press.



A framework of heavy limbs arranged to form a dome-shaped shelter. This type of construction was typical of the Lake Eyre basin region, as curved limbs were sourced from large trees edging the dry watercourses.

Pictured opposite in the northeast Queensland rainforest fan-palm leaves are thatched and arranged in overlapping layers to form a kind of large shingle diverting heavy rain away.

“Aboriginal architecture is the antithesis of the introduced Western styles...They discovered their temples and cathedrals in the ready-made structures of the landscape itself...If there is a single lesson to be taken from Memmott’s account, it is the overriding importance of climate.” - Extract from book review by Philip Drew, Sydney Morning Herald 14/12/2007

Images from Memmott, P. (2007). Gunyah Goondie + Wurley:The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia. St Lucia:University of Queensland Press.



The facing page shows an aerial view of Nyagatom village in Ethiopia. The vernacluar huts are circular in plan (See right) built with a dome shaped framework of branches covered in bound bundles of grass (above).

All images from “Primitive Architecture� Enrico Guidoni p. 90-91 (plates 145, 146, 148)



Clockwise from top left: Memmott, P. (2007). Gunyah Goondie + Wurley: The Aboriginal Architecture of Australia. p 19; ibid; “IL-31 Bambus-Bamboo� p. 265; index.php/Main_Page

The beehive-shaped dwellings on the facing page are built by the women of the Toposa tribe in South Sudan from thatch and wood. The elevated structure improves ventilation, prevents dust from entering the home and provides shade underneath. The sun shade of a Kiridi lodging in Cameroon (above) is piled high with grass, supported by forked branches providing a high coefficient of insulation. Further east in Ethiopia, dwellings are built directly on the ground. The dome (pictured right) is woven using split bamboo or cane. In the Torres Strait Islands the Meriam people constructed similar shaped domes (above right) with a diameter of up to 6m. The structure was split bamboo, clad with pandanus, palm and grass.



Richard Buckminster Fuller was an American architect, author, inventor, humanitarian, educator and the father of modern tensile structures. His understanding of sustainability and synergetics is fundamental to both modern and indigenous systems. Fuller was an early environmental activist. In 1927 Fuller resolved to “finding ways of doing more with less to the end that all people everywhere can have more and more.”. This sustainable concept was closely linked to the notion of synergetics; a study of systems in transformation, with an emphasis on total system behaviour rather than isolated components.

Fuller is best known for the geodesic dome, a semi-sphere constructed of triangular components derived from the icosahedron. However, unknown to Fuller, it was actually the German engineer Walter Bauersfeld who built the first geodesic dome almost 20 years earlier in 1912. Facing page shows Fuller and his students suspended from the dome’s framework. Fuller pioneered the use of lightweight tensile materials.




Facing page left, Cave Urban, Woodford 2011: A geodesic 5m bamboo sphere using vinyl tubing and zip-tie connectors .

Cave Urban, Woodford 2010: A geodesic pineapple made from coconuts and bamboo for “The Pineapple Lounge”



Cave Urban developed a socket connector, Bam Clam 1. Designed by inventor Dave Goldie (pictured left) and tested by engineer Jeremy Sparks (pictured below left), the prototype was made with resin and bamboo fibre The connector (opposite) uses only one bolt. The knob and knuckle system ensures that the stresses are distributed evenly, preventing the bamboo struts from splitting. Tests revealed that the connector was capable of carrying point loads of 220kg. To fit the clamp, the bamboo struts are injected with resin and a ball socket is cast at the end of each strut, ensuring a perfect fit with the clamp. This overcomes irregularities inherent in any natural element such as variation in the diameter of the bamboo struts. Stress tests have already been carried out with different natural fibres and Bam Clam 1 is now at a stage where it is ready to manufacture in resin with hemp and coconut fibre or bamboo shavings.

Clockwise from top left: Dave and Jeremy testing the connector at 1:1 scale; inside and outside of the connector; resin and sawdust prototype. Facing page: Dome prototype produced by Hao Dang (pictured left), director of Grass Service Trading Production Company Ltd.



The Pineapple Lounge at the Woodford Folk Festival 2012-2014 features the Bam-Clam geodesic dome, using Buckminster Fuller’s design. The resulting “pineapple” was a 5m dia 3/4 dome, clad with bamboo sheaths (pictured top right and middle). Other bamboo building techniques used included post and beam building for the smokers lounge (below). A bamboo branch shade structure (below) was built using a lashing technique by Georges Cuvillier and Ronnie Sammut. Right page left side features 2016’s woven bamboo. On the right side the last year of the geodesic pinneapple 2015’s bamboo pineapple clad with kitepaper artwork by Sam Newstead



Cave Urban’s mobile bakery for Ludmilla and Igor Ivanovic “Iggy’s Bakery” at the Woodford Folk Festival 2011-2016. Constructed on a 2x6m trailer with a cage of recycled copper louvres around the oven and a bamboo frame and cladding, the bakery was oriented to serve from the end of the trailer with a camp kitchen tarp and extendable bamboo ridge beam that packs down flat for transportation. Side compartments slide out with sink, proofer and mixer for operation.

mobile bamboo bakery

Top right: Sourdough bread. Left: diagram of opened and closed bakery. Above: first drawings. Opposite: bakery open - 100 loaves were baked each day.)


Tent prototypes by Cave Urban based on a geodesic bamboo frame with a natural membrane covering. A ridge vent that draws cool air through the interior space and arched openings that are raised for light and air and lowered for privacy or inclement weather. The tent on the right is a woven bamboo version. All images on this spread are by Cave Urban

cave urban tent prototypes

Naiju Residential Centre and Kindergarten in Chikuho, Fukuoka (Japan) Built by architect Shoei Yoh Hamura in 1995. Inspired by the local methods of bamboo weaving, this project blends the lightness and flexibility of bamboo with the strength and plasticity of concrete. A mesh of bamboo was suspended, creating a three-dimensional load-bearing matrix with folds and pleats. This irregular structure was covered by a polyurethane membrane that acted as formwork and waterproofing for the concrete.

Clockwise from top left: Vitra Design Museum. (2000). Grow Your Own House: Simon Velez and bamboo architecture. Wel am Rhein: Vitra Design Museum. p 226; 224; http:// portal/profile/pics/12388/ yohshoei_pp.jpg



This amphitheatre proposal is designed for the Woodford Folk Festival by Cave Urban and engineered by Event Engineering. Conceived as a series of overlapping shells with a gabion stone base, the Amphitheatre will rise 25m high to host both small community workshops, local and international concerts. Native vines will grow to cover the structure to increase shade,insulation and connection with the landscape.



Shono Shounsai (pictured right in his home c 1960) was the most influential artist in all of Japan in expanding bamboo art beyond the limitation of the vessel into the realm of sculpture. In 1967 he was named Living National Treasure. Above are different details of his take on the traditional flower basket, Shimmering of Heated Air. These images and information come from a book written to accompany an exhibition in 2007, which showcased 900 bamboo baskets. The book meticulously explains the teaching methods and traditions of bamboo artistry. Opposite and above images from: Rinne, M. (2007). Masters of Bamboo: Artistic Lineages in the Lloyd Costen Japanese Basket Collection. San Francisco: Asian Art Museum. p 92; p 32. Facing page: Galaxy 2001 by Honda Syoryu, p 57.

Charissa Brock, who works and teaches out of her studio near Portland OR, has been making artwork with natural materials since 1994. She discovered bamboo as an art material in 1999 while earning her MFA at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, PA. Her work has been exhibited widely in the United States and is included in the Arizona State University Museum.

Image from

Deborah Smith is an American artist who works with driftwood and reeds. She recognises that each piece of wood has been shaped by motion; the twisting and turning of the branch as it sought the sun’s light, and the rolling and spinning in currents, as it travelled to water’s edge. The artist completes this movement using weaving techniques.

Image from



Images from the World Buildings Directory Online Database, available online: http://www.


Vo Trong Nghia studied architecture in Japan on a government scholarship. After graduating from Nagoya Institute of Technology, he returned to Vietnam and started his own architectural practice in 2006. This page and the previous spread features the “Wind and Water” (wNw) Bar in Binh Duong, Vietnam, completed by locals in three months in 2009. Images from Cave Urban field trip to Vietnam, June 2011. Portrait of Vo Trong Nghia sourced online: http:// Drawings available online: http://www. php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_ id=12630. Article published in The World Architecture News, Friday 30 Oct 2009.

The wNw cafe embodies the principles of passive ventilation tested using computer simulations of the spaces to study the airflow and the cooling capacity of the water drawn naturally from the surrounding pond through the interior and up through the oculus (above right). Avoiding the use of air conditioning drastically lowered the building’s energy costs. The methods used to connect the structure are inspired by traditional construction techniques allowing the design to be adapted to other sites and in other communities across Vietnam.

wind and water CAFE


All images and data sourced from article by: Rosenberg, Andrew. “Bamboo Structure Project / Pouya Khazaeli Parsa” 07 Dec 2010. ArchDaily.

Iranian architect Pouya Khazaeli Parsa studied architecture at Tehran Azad University. In June 2007 he founded Rai Studio with the aim of reviving “the lost spirit of architecture”. This “Bamboo Dome” was built in a suburban area in Mazandaran, Iran. Three unskilled people constructed it in two days. After completing the frame and secondary structure, bunches of cropped rice were collected from the area. Each bunch was bound at the top and overlapped. A major benefit of using rice as cladding is that they expand when wet, stopping moisture from penetrating, while in warm weather they shrink and ventilate the space.The plan above shows the structure is split into two semi circles of differing diameter.

iranian shelter


Simón Vélez was born in Manizales, Colombia, in 1949. His affinity for bamboo began whilst working in rural areas. To date, Vélez has designed bamboo buildings in Germany, France, the United States, Brazil, Mexico, China, Jamaica, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Indonesia and India. At the request of the Zero Emissions Research and Initiative Foundation Vélez designed a 2000m2 bamboo pavilion for Expo Hanover 2000. It was the first time in history that a bamboo structure received a building permit in Germany although this was not until Vélez’s partner and financier, Günter Pauli convinced German engineers to test a 1:1 prototype in Colombia in 1999. It was the only building to have no need for cranes or heavy machinery in its construction and cost a lot less than other pavilions. The structural integrity of the Zeri Pavilion was supported by the research of the Vergiate Bamboo Pavilion in Florence, Italy, by Oscar Hidalgo, in association with engineer Mario de Miranda and professor Walter Liese. The DIN code for bamboo construction in Germany was developed by Carolina Zuluaga Zuleta. “In Colombia, there is a stigma attached to bamboo as being the ‘wood of the poor,’ and many architects turn their noses up at it,” said Vélez, adding that bamboo traditionally has been used in housing and communal structures built by indigenous and impoverished communities. “But I’ve discovered it has a lot of advantages.” These include its beauty and inherent strength, which according to Vélez, has double the weight-to-resistance ratio of steel. Unlike most woods, bamboo is easily and rapidly replaceable – during the four years needed to grow bamboo, the plants provide an opportune way of preventing soil erosion. Thus bamboo represented “a form of symbiosis between the act of producing a natural building material and that of putting it to constructive use. An integrating concept, evoked in Spanish – with agronomic, social and poetic overtones – by the expression “arquitectura cultivable”…“Grow your own house”.”

Quote from Vitra Design Museum. (2000). Grow Your Own House: Simon Velez and Bamboo Architecture. P. 42

Above images available online: http://www.marcelovillegas. com/w/pavellon-de-guadua/; portrait image and image on facing page from: Vitra Design Museum. (2000). Grow Your Own House: Simon Velez and bamboo architecture.

simon velez - godfather of bamboo architecture


Images from: Villegas, M. (2003). Guadua: Arquitectura y Diseno. Bogota: Villegas Editores.

This spread features sketch designs, precedent images and photographs of the Temporary Cathedral at Pereira, Colombia, built in 1999 by Simon Velez. Made using bamboo that grows next to rivers, the curve of the arch was formed naturally as the bamboo grew. It served as the temporary church after the original 200 year old stone cathedral was destroyed by an earthquake. The stone structure was later restored and VÊlez’s cathedral removed.

Temporary cathedral


The Nomadic Museum in Mexico City, is a purpose-built temporary structure used to house the Ashes and Snow photography and film exhibition by Gregory Colbert. Envisioned as a travelling structure that would be the architectural equivalent of open arms, a place where nature is celebrated. In building the museum Vélez created the largest bamboo structure ever built: The 5,130 sqm museum is a monumental structure built entirely of renewable resources, housing two galleries and three theatres. Clockwise from top left: interior detail of undulating facade, available online: http://; exterior photograph of the Nomadic Museum, available online:; interior of auditorium available online: http://www.

bamboo pavilion

Opposite page features Feldman + Quinones bamboo childhood center “El Guadual” in Colombia. The building’s inauguration marked the end of a three-year long participatory design and development effort that has strived to generate pride and ownership since the beginning of the process. Construction lasted nine months and the total cost was $1.6 million. More than 60 local builders were employed and certified alongside 30 local women who were trained in early youth education to become the daily workforce of the facility. All images courtesy of daniel feldman and ivan quinones found at: http://



NATURAL roofing

Left image available online at http://www.panyaden.; 24H team photograph available online http://; top and facing page from Cave Urban field trip to Thailand, December 2011

24H is an architectural firm based in Rotterdam founded in 2001. They have worked on projects across Europe. In 2010, 24H completed the Panyaden School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, located on a site covering 5000sqm. The school is situated in the lush green surroundings of a former orchard, south of the city of Chiang Mai. The School consists of an organic shaped arrangement of pavilions inspired by the tropical antler horn fern. The entire school has been built from local materials that have been treated to extend their life-span.



The Green School in Bali, is a pioneering education system designed to teach the global community about sustainability. The school is located on a campus straddling both sides of the Ayung River in Sibang Kaja. The Campus has more than 70 buildings, powered in part by solar panels. Engineer certification by Prof. Ashar Saputra. The project was founded by John and Cynthia Hardy, designed and built by an international team of designers, builders, and craftsmen gathered by John Hardy specifically for the task. Many of this original team later joined Ibuku under Elora Hardy when it was founded in 2010. Jรถrg Stamm, a German builder who specializes in bamboo, was a key contributor to this process along with artist Aldo Landwher.

Image above features a skylight made of recycled car windshields The Green Village was designed by Elora Hardy, creative director of Ibuku. Set along the terraced slopes of the Ayung River in Bali, Green Village is a master-planned community of eighteen homes, each one custom designed and hand-built to embody the inherent strengths and versatility of bamboo.

Clockwise from top left: interior photo by Cave Urban; drawings available online; plan view of class rooms and solar panels; view of building raised on bamboo stilts; recycled and thatched roof materials. Facing page: split bamboo balustrade. All photographs by Cave Urban.



Built in 2007, the Three Mountain – or Tiga Gunung – Workshop was the first large scale bamboo building that John Hardy envisioned for his business. It has three 15m tall towers that resemble the shape of three volcanoes. The Workshop is used for events, company assembly and also to welcome guests. At the time of construction, the 14,000 squarefoot building was considered the largest bamboo building in the world. The construction process took 10 weeks, using 1400 bamboo poles and 12,500 pieces of Alang-alang cladding.

Drawing and construction image above from: Jorg Stamm Presentation 2011 “Viva Guadua” Caliz, Colombia. All remaining photographs on this spread are from the Cave Urban field trip to Indonesia, September 2011.

The Bambu Indah Hotel is made up of a collection of traditional vernacular Balinese houses collected from across Java and brought to the site by John and Cynthia Hardy. The woven womb-like rooms featured above were designed by Aldo Landwher to house the reception and a small library at the Bambu Indah hotel.

All photographs on this spread are from the Cave Urban field trip to Indonesia, September 2011.


Linda Garland is an Irish designer who has lived in Bali since the 1970s. In 1990 she founded the Environmental Bamboo Foundation which is a non-profit organization that aims to protect tropical forests by promoting and demonstrating the conservation and development opportunities that bamboo offers. Her son Arief Rabik continues Linda’s legacy through the launching of the 1000 forrests for 1000 villages program across Indonesia. The EBF has helped put bamboo on the conservation and development agenda of Indonesia whilst generating an international interest in bamboo. The EBF has a focus upon international development, through consulting and education, preservation research, agro-forestry projects, watershed reclamation, plantation development and policy development. The EBF works in concert with the International Bamboo Foundation, the Zeri Foundation and an international network of bamboo associations, scientists, universities and governments. BALI LODGE / LINDA GARLAND

The Telaga Sunyi Outbound Camp is tucked away in the jungle region of Baturaden, Banyumas, Central Java, Indonesia. Facing page: Top: Panchoran Retreat design by Linda Garland (now sold). living lodge JAVA

Photography left page from Cave Urban field trip to Bali - 18th June, 201. Images on this page online at:



Facing page, Top: “Orini’s House”. designed by Jorg Stamm, utilizes the old technique of flexible arches made out of bamboo bundles. Bottom: natural curvature obtained by curved compression bamboo rods. From IL-31 Bambus-Bamboo. This page clockwise from top left pictures a mudhif (guest house) made of reed bundles forming an arched structure found in Iraq: Images from “https://imaginandosumer.wordpress. com/2013/01/25/mudhif/” Bottom left: the marsh dwellers have populated the endemic wetlands for 5,000 years. This photo was taken in the 1950’s, available online: post/26145618940/catrinastewart-ma-adan-iraq-the-marsh

bundle beams


CanyaViva is an itinerant group of architects, builders and instructors of building techniques based on the optimum use of Mediterranean cane. CanyaViva’s building method began with the observation of cane in its natural state and the spaces created by its growth over a small river in the south of Spain. The team members are Jonathan Cory-Wright, Founder and Lead designer; Interior Designer Bárbara Del Cano; Set designer Margherita Bertoli; Technical Architect Carlos Jiménez Asenjo; Artist Carlos Serrano Roncero; Therapist Hugo García; Architect Mafalda Fernandes; Stage Technician Daniel Anselmo All images property of CanyaViva - http://



In September of 2013, Cave Urban members Juan Pablo, Jed and Ned attended a Canya Viva workshop in Terra Alta, Portugal. The work consisted of building a small house using locally harvested cane. The workshop focused on bundle beam techniques to create a dome structure that was later covered with cane and rendered with mud and straw. The outside finish was a waterproofing layer of lime

Image on facing page shows the construction of the roof structure, courtesy of Canya Viva. This page clockwise from top left: view of the earth render being applied to the cane; view from inside the house; view of the structure before the earth render; view of house from inside with earth render. All images on this page by Cave Urban.




jorg stamm

The staging project is located in Southern Ghana and is a collaboration between [a]FA (a lab at the Institute of Architecture / University of Applied Arts Vienna) ) , the Haduwa Arts & Culture Institute Ghana and Jörg Stamm. The bamboo and membrane dome has three open arches facing different directions, large enough to accommodate a variety of programs. Jörg Stamm was born in Dröhlshagen, Germany. After studying he became a Peace Corps worker who fell in love with bamboo while visiting Colombia. In 2007 he designed the world’s first bamboo bridge with a synthetic membrane in Colombia. Castro Rojas designed the saddle form with steel cable tie anchors at each corner securing the roof to the embankments and reinforcing the bamboo. HADUWA ARTS & CULTURE INSTITUTE images on this spread from DesignBuildXChange found at “”



Bamboo is well suited to bridge building due to its lightweight nature, tensile strength, and large span capabilities. The Green School bridge was designed by Jorg Stamm and was swept away during a flood in 2011, a replacement bridge was completed in January 2012.

Images extracted from: Jorg Stamm Presentation 2011 “Viva Guadua� Caliz, Colombia.

green school bridge


All Images and drawings by EDSA and Hitesh Mehta, available online: http://www.asla. org/2010awards/370.html

Crosswaters Ecolodge is situated in the forests of the Nankun Shan Mountain Reserve in the Guangdong Province China. The ecolodge was built as a collaboration between specialists in bamboo, architecture and landscaping from around the world: planners and Landscape Architects (USA) - EDSA, Inc.; Bamboo Architect (Columbia) - Simon Velez; Feng Shui Master (China) - Michael Chiang; Architect (Australia) - Paul Pholeros. The Crosswaters Ecolodge is the first project of this scale in Asia to use bamboo as a structural element.

ecolodge, china


The Matina Bamboo Footbridge in Davao City links the three communities of Barangay. Construction began in November 2010, the arched bridge having a span of 23m. Inspired by the works of prominent bamboo architects Jorg Stamm and Simon Velez, Architect Andrea Fitrianto came up with the arched bridge design. He travelled to Indonesia to consult with Jorg Stamm about the design of the bridge and how the bridge could resist being swept away by floods. The concrete slab on the bridge (bottom right) improves resistance against lateral forces, helping the bridge to withstand extreme conditions. Once the concrete was laid the deflection of the bridge was minimised enough to resist a large flood which destroyed part of the village. The top left image illustrates the Vertical diffusion system where each bamboo joint is hollowed out (except for the bottom knuckle) and then filled with a borax and boric acid solution. This method minimised the volume of solution needed to treat the poles. Community Architect Andrea Fitrianto currently works at the Asian Coalition for Housing Rights.(ACHR). He Studied architecture at the Universitas Katolik Parahyangan (Indonesia) 1999 and did his Masters at the Institute for Housing and Urban Development Studies (IHS), 2008 Rotterdam.

Images and information from Pole by Pole: The Matina Crossing Communities and Bamboo Footbridge Story by the Phillipine Alliance Mindanao. Dan Jezreel Oren Orendain & Atty Jason (Eds). Photographs by Andrea Fitrianto.

community bridge - indonesia


All images from Rocca, A. (2007). Natural Architecture. New Yourk: Princeton Architectural Press. pp 174-183. Portrait image from: http://www.

Edward Ng, professor of architecture at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, arranged in July 2005 to build a permanent bridge for the village of Maosi, in northwestern China. The 80-metre bridge was built in 7 days by 20 students from Hong Kong, and 30 volunteers from the village. The study of seasonal flooding showed that a bridge raised 1.5m would remain above the water level for 95% of the time. Ng engaged english structural engineer Tony Hunt to design a flood resistant structure. The project was devised around economy, portability and ease of construction. Previously this river was bridged annually, as the seasonal floods swept away a lightweight structure every year. Through the use of gabion walls this cycle was broken. The bridge was anchored and also permeable to the water. The gabion blocks are then linked with bamboo and steel platforms.

gabion community BRIDGE


Gabion is an extremely adaptable and resourceful building system that works well in river conditions. Gabion baskets have advantages over solid footings because of their modularity, ability to be stacked in various shapes, absorption of ground movement, resistance to being washed away by moving water, dissipation of energy from flowing water, and ability to drain. Their strength and effectiveness may increase with time in some cases, as silt and vegetation fill the interstitial voids and reinforce the structure. The life-span of the gabion structure depends on the integrity of the basket surrounding it, and the effect of the water and other factors on the material, be it steel or bamboo. In the case of the bridge over the Mukti Khola river that joins the Budhi Gandaki (in Arughat Bazar, in Nepal) the pylons of the bridge are made of stones wrapped in bamboo to keep them stable. The bamboo structure acts as a basket containing the existing boulders from the river. This system allows for the stones to be used as they are found .

Illustration from Manual de Construccion con Bambu, National University of Colombia; above photo of gabion retaining wall taken at Garie Beach, south of Sydney on a Cave Urban Field Trip March 2012. Facing page: image of gabion bridge made from timber and bamboo in Nepal, available online:

NATURAL gabion bridge


The hanging bridges over the Siyum River in Arunachal Pradesh, India span up to 200m across torrential mountain streams using nothing but bamboo and cane. The tubular suspension bridge “Hleiri” illustrated on the left page has been used since ancient times by the “Laker” tribe in India. It was constructed with braced green bamboo hoops which were distributed and tied to bamboo strip cables to form a bridge. Top right pictures the Spider Bridge in South Africa Photographs above and opposite page sourced online:; Top right from illustration from Manual de Construccion con Bambu, National University of Colombia

suspension bridge - india / SOUTH AFRICA


The bridges featured are supported by “Bamboo-cables” and are found in Colombia and Indonesia. This kind of bridge can be built between two points located at different heights.

Below: Humpbacked bridge in Tierradentro, Cauca, Colombia - one of the few instances in which bamboo is subject to traction stress. Photograph available online: Plan and section of the bridge (right) by Oscar Hidalgo Lopez (Manual de Construccion con Bambu, National University of Colombia).

Top images: ‘Monkey bridges’ (cau khi) found in the Mekong Delta (Laos). They are suspended anywhere from 2m to 10m above the canals and connect tiny villages throughout the region to main roads. Facing page features a bamboo bridge in Cambodia which is reconstructed every year after being destroyed in the wet season. Photographs available online: Above illustration from Oscar Hidalgo Lopez, Manual de Construccion con Bambu, National University of Colombia. Image on facing page found at http://www.itchyfeetonthecheap. com/2012/04/09/kampong-cham-cambodia-the-beginning-of-our-travels-upthe-mekong/




The native communities of southern Mekong are virtually self-sufficient. Their fishing strategies have been refined over the years, and with simplicity they have achieved great results. A traditional Laotian saying is: “if you want to eat fish, make a fire, put a pot to heat and the fish will jump from the river to the pot”.

The “Alor” fish traps, or “Bubu” traps are made from strips of bamboo and raffia.

Facing page: Bamboo fish trap constructed by the Tukano people from the Mandi region on the river Vaupes, Colombia. The trap is lain flat in the water and tilted up to catch fish.



Left image of bamboo scaffolding available online: http://tizpertiz. hu/2016/03/26/az-azsiai-epitkezesekfo-jellemzoje-bambuszallvany-es-azeletveszely/#!prettyPhoto Image above from Cambodia available at: lorna87/283420918

bamboo scaffolding

Twin brothers Mike and Doug Starn (born in New Jersey in 1961) built a bamboo installation for the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011. The hollow bamboo framework featured a spiralling and undulating trail, which lead visitors to an expansive lounge 50 feet above the Grand Canal. It was built with more than 3000 bamboo poles. Mike Starn states, “It is a sculpture, but not a static sculpture. It’s something that exists through the presence of the people inside it… We are constructing an ongoing tower – growth and change remain invariable, and they are a constant”.

bamboo art


Marco Casagrande is a Finnish architect, environmental artist, architectural theorist, writer and professor of architecture. He graduated from Helsinki University of Technology department of architecture in 2001. Casagrande’s works and teaching move freely between art, architecture, urban and environmental design. “There is no other reality than nature.” The Bug Dome was originally developed for the 2009 Shenzhen Hong Kong Biennale by the Taiwanese architecture group WEAK!; The 3000 square metres of wasteland that formed a ruined building site was transformed into the “Bug Dome”. The 120 square metre woven dome was constructed using bamboo, wood, gravel and WEAK! Concrete; a mixture of cement and soil found on site.

Cicada sketch (above) from marco-casagrande-cicada/ cicada_site_sketch_marcocasagrande/. Image above left from: http:// php/2012/01/cicada-by-marcocasagrande/ Other images on this spread available online:

woven art


Amir Rabik was born on the island of Madura in Indonesia and has worked with bamboo his whole life. Chief architect of the Boom Festival 2006 and master planer of the festival site Seven Temple Rumah in Padang Bai pictured in this spread. All vegetation on site was left intact and the structure wrapped the landscape with a bamboo mesh. Built on the ground with a simple split system the fabric was propped up and laid over a series of arches.




Artist Wang Wen-chih was born in the high mountains of Chiayi County in Taiwan. His work has been exhibited at the 49th Venice Bienniale; the 2013 Setouchi Triennale, Japan and the 2007 Prague Quadrennial to name a few. “Dragon Lair Dares Tiger Lair” Left, is composed of a bridge and 15m bamboo tower. He describes his process as a borrowing of ancient forms and creating a way of being inside nature. Beyond the Site II is a site-specific work for the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts. Made of bamboo and rattan, the work features Wang Wen-Chih’s “prototype of space”. Next spread features “Getting Together”, 2015. A civic commission in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Built from bamboo, steel and oyster shells . All images on facing page courtesy of Wang Wen-Chih.




In late 2013 Wang Wen-Chih and his core team wove a bamboo installation at the entrance to the Amphitheatre with local volunteers and Cave Urban.

Clockwise from top left: The installation made from woven split bamboo and timber posts by day; as a model; Left page view of oculus from inside; plan view (woodford aerial) and the overall view of the site.



Woven Cloud. A work by Wang Wen-Chih in collaboration with Cave Urban. Commissioned by the Woodford Folk Festival in 2014 as an entrance space to the festival precinct. The work was created over 4 weeks with the help of 20 volunteers using locally harvested bamboo and invasive pines.

WOVEN CLOUD | wang wen-chih collaboration WITH CAVE URBAN | woodford folk festival 2014/15


“Quandong Dream� by Wang Weng-Chih was built for the Planting Festival 2016 during the two weeks preceding the Opening. Using locally harvested bamboo and recycled telegraph poles, the tree house was woven with the help of 10 volunteers

wang wen-chih collaboration WITH CAVE URBAN | THE PLANTING festival 2016


These photographs depict construction of a bamboo hammock made from a single bamboo pole. Jim Mahoney runs workshops in Australia exploring a variety of uses for bamboo, using green bamboo to create hammocks, simple trusses, cylindrical sculptures and small shelters. The workshop was held on 2/4/2011 in Moorland, NSW by Jim Mahoney (phone: +614 (0)2 65563098, email:

hammock from single bamboo pole

The images were sourced from the Bamboo Society of Australia website ( index.php?view=details&id=14&optio n=com_eventlist&Itemid=62)

Cave Urban at the Bambooroo Workshop in Thailand November 2011. Fish-belly bridge designed by Mark Emery.

Mark Emery is a graduate in Landscape Architecture at the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia. He worked with Jรถrg Stamm in several projects around Colombia and later formed his company Bambooroo in Chiang May, Thailand; a team of architects engineers and designers dedicated to produce high quality bamboo design and construction.



Belgian artist Georges Cuvillier started working with Australian Company Bambuco in spring 2004 where he learnt to work with bamboo using rigging techniques. He has exhibited in Europe and Australia creating large scale bamboo installations. The Julia Creek Bridge (named after Julia Gillard) was designed for the Woodford Folk Festival site, using fallen trees which were milled onsite. For the festival Cave Urban invited Georges Cuvillier from Belgium and Ronnie Sammut from Victoria to create a bamboo installation over the bridge. The split and rope tieing system that Georges used in this install was adopted and used in several projects afterwards. This dynamic and accessible connection method allows the structure to be erected and dismantled quickly, without damaging the bamboo poles. Artists | George Cuvillier + Ronnie Sammut



Mengenang (Memory in balinese), is a bamboo wind driven sound installation. The bamboo resonators are tuned to a D minor cord to create a commemorative sound forest. The original installation of Mengenang was created to reflect on the bombings that occurred in 2002 and 2005 in Bali. The 222 victims were represented by 222 bamboo poles on the headland. Mengenang was awarded winner of the “People’s Choice” and “Mayor’s Prize”awards, 16th annual exhibition “Sculpture by the Sea Bondi 2012” Artists | Lachlan Brown + Juan-Pablo Pinto Photography | Ujin Lee

cave urban mengenang at SCULPTURE BY THE SEA, BONDI 2012

Mengenang (Memory in Balinese) at Cottelsoe Beach was the 2nd installation of the sculpture, adapted to the surrounding sand landscape through the form of an inverted dome. Mengenang was awarded winner of the “People Choice’s Prize” at the 9th annual exhibition “Sculpture by the Sea Cottesloe 2013” Perth - Australia

The third installation was for the 13th annual exhibition of “Artisans in the Gardens” at the Botanical Gardens of Sydney. Adapted to an aquatic environment, the sculpture creates reflections and resonance against the pond’s surface. Artists | Lachlan Brown & Juan-Pablo Pinto Photography | Ujin Lee

Artists | Lachlan Brown & Juan-Pablo Pinto


In April 2014 Cave Urban was commissioned to design the outdoor garden bar and other bamboo elements for Madama Butterfly - an opera written by Puccini set in Japan. The garden featured a Japanese style bamboo portal frame spanning a low bridge, surrounded by bamboo seating and lanterns Artist | Juan-Pablo Pinto


Cave Urban Bamboo installation in the Royal Botanical Gardens Sydney. The work is inspired by the buttress roots of the Fig trees that characterise the site. Artist | Juan-Pablo Pinto CAVE URBAN | SPECTRUM NOW festival SYDNEY MARCH 2015


Installation for the Brisbane Festival, September 2014 at the Southbank Cultural Forecourt in collaboration with Creative Director, Tony Assness. The intent was to bring the experience of walking through a bamboo forest and the light that filters through the poles. The light garden is composed of 1000 pieces of bamboo and is 18m high by 60m long. They are connected using a rope and split system together with traditional rope lashing, allowing for it to be deconstructed and re-used without waste. 1 tonne of ballast was used, so that no ground connections were necessary. Artist | Juan-Pablo Pinto





Bamboo Pavillion for MONA’s Dark Mofo Festival in Hobart Tasmania, June 2015. Artist | Juan-Pablo

This project was run as a Master’s Design Studio for the University of Tasmania creating a structure to host Clemenger’s Hot House forum on education and then to house Dark Mofo’s Winterfeast. The pavillion is composed of one and a half containers of bamboo, rope and clear greenhouse film. It is 10 by 50 metres long with a maximum height of 7 metres. Chilean sculptor Carolina Pinto created the central potbelly fire using local recycled steel. Sam Newstead and Lachlan Brown created the craypot/ paper lanterns.



cave urban | S.O.S. | Sculpture by the Sea bondi 2014 | SYDNEY


Save Our Souls (SOS), a 12 metre tall bamboo lighthouse sculpture installed on the headland in Marks Park for October’s Sculpture by the Sea Bondi 2014 exhibition. Artist | Juan-Pablo Pinto + Lachlan Brown Photography | Mercurio Alvarado cave urban | S.O.S. SYDNEY AUSTRALIA | Sculpture by the Sea 2014 101

cave urban | NEAR KIN KIN | Art AND ABOUT SYDNEY 103

Near Kin Kin draws its name, inspiration, and organic materials from a hillside farm near Kin Kin, Queensland – where giant stands of bamboo invoke awe in anyone who stands beneath them. The 22-metre bamboo sculpture was erected on the forecourt of Customs House Square for Sydney’s Art and About Festival, 2015. Now permanently relocated to the Woodford Folk Festival Artist | Juan-Pablo Pinto

Photography | Mercurio Alvarado

cave urban | NEAR KIN KIN | At the woodford folk festival 2015 105

Cave Urban was invited to exhibit in the 20th Aniversary of Sculpture by the Sea Bondi 2016. The Golden Hour was created on-site with 600 poles of locally harvested bamboo and the help of volunteers. Balanced at the edge of the headland the 4m diameter sphere lines up with the horizon to celebrate sunrise and sunset. Artist | Juan-Pablo Pinto Photos | Mercurio Alvarado

cave urban | the golden hour | sculpture by the sea bondi 2016 | sydney 107

Nici Long Founder | Director

Juan Pablo Pinto Co-Founder | Creative Director

Jed Long Co-Founder | Project Director

Mercurio Alvarado Architect | Photographer

Angel Heredia Architect

Lachlan Brown Creative Associate

Ned Long Creative Associate

Honey Long Creative Associate

cave urban team 2016 109 111

Bamboo Folio 2011-2016  

This first folio aims to explore bamboo projects across the world relating contemporary architecture to vernacular buildings. The folio is i...

Bamboo Folio 2011-2016  

This first folio aims to explore bamboo projects across the world relating contemporary architecture to vernacular buildings. The folio is i...