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Materials of sustainable architecture

1 May 2017

Building in an ecosustainable way

Bamboo, a green material known and used in the field of construction mainly in Asia, Latin America and Africa, is also spreading in Europe for its various qualities. It is elastic, lightweight but durable at the same time, ecologically sustainable and with a multifunctional use.

It is considered as "vegetable steel" and it is becoming inspirational muse of architects all over the world especially in the light construction sector. Indeed bamboo, as easily renewable and economic resource, represents a sustainable alternative, so a perfect building material to project and design sustainable architecture.

The remarkable bamboo resistance, together with its cheapness and the easiness to find it, explains why during the two world wars in Japan ultra-light aircrafts were constructed in mesh jambs of bamboo reeds and wooden panels. Instead the first panels in bamboo multilayer were built in the ’40s in China, one of the major producers of this graminaceous.

The sustainability of bamboo as building material is present at all stages of its life cycle. No pesticides or fertilizers are used during cultivation. Its use allows the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions compared to the use of other materials such as cement. In Haiti, for example, it turned out to be an excellent local building material to face the housing emergency after the earthquake in 2010.

Bamboo resistance to mushroom and insect attacks can be improved by selecting the most suitable species and with subsequent treatments for the protection, completely natural, like drying with smoke, immersion in water or sand. Thanks to these features recently, this eco-friendly material has also been widely distributed in the field of ecosustainable furnishing.