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Design as Scholarship
Bending Bamboo Rules
Kristof Crolla
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The ZCB Bamboo Pavilion, built in Hong Kong in 2015, is the largest bending-active bamboo gridshell structure to date. Globally, Hong Kong is one of the last places where raw bamboo is actively used in everyday construction. Yet, despite being ecologically sustainable, bamboo craftsmanship is slowly dissipating. Through several observations, discoveries, and projects, this paper discusses the sequential journey that generated a bold alternative to pre-existing local bamboo building typologies, challenging general perceptions and building regulations. The trade itself is not giving another path, but is receiving it as an alternative to fading away. Hence: by infusing digital technology into the design and construction process of a century-old building method, a fading vernacular tradition offers an alternative course of action centered on computational design.

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