The Green Steel of the 21st Century
Bamboo is an incredibly versatile material, which makes it an attractive alternative for construction projects, due to its high strength to weight ratio which is on parr with timber and its lightness and flexibility. As a result of bamboos strength, it is often used as scaffolding in many parts of the world in Asia and South America. Bamboo is an environmentally and sustainable building alternative to steel being able to sequester large amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Additionally, the speed at which the plant can grow (which can be as much as 91cm per day) also means that it is a far cheaper alternative to steel.
Furthermore, bamboo also offers climate resilient properties, because of its strength and flexibility means that the material can withstand earthquakes and hurricanes, which has led to architects calling it the “Green Steel of the 21st Century” (Vo Trong Nghia).
Bamboo is an interesting material as it is used in all scale of construction projects. Most noticeably in Chiang Mai in Thailand where local bamboo experts constructed a Bamboo Sports Hall for the Panyaden International School. The building is a zero-carbon building constructed completely of bamboo, consequently the building absorbed more carbon during its erection than it used. Additionally, the building is also climate resilient being able to withstand earthquakes for the next 50 years. This huge construction project holds a 782-metre square hall and can hold 300 students.