Arup has been developing a form of ‘vernacular-improved construction’ for low-income communities in pre- and post-disaster contexts in Latin America and beyond. The design takes a traditional construction system (bahareque - a form of wattle-and-daub) and makes a much more durable and stronger form of housing.
The new design is seismically-resilient, low-cost, and uses sustainable materials such as timber and bamboo/cane. This results in a design with lower embodied carbon. The design has been developed using primarily research, community participative techniques, and full-scale testing.
The project won the IStructE sustainability award in 2015, and the design is now available open source. This is being incorporated into the latest revision of the ISO code on Structural Design of Bamboo.
The presentation covered the development of the design and how similar approaches and designs could be used to tackle the worldwide housing shortage, while minimising carbon emissions.
Reasons to view
- Appreciate the challenges of working in developing country contexts, and what appropriate approaches need to be used when working there
- Gain a better understanding on the advantages of vernacular and vernacular-improved construction, and the issues with importing alien technologies
- Understand the potential for bamboo in sustainable construction
Who should view
Members interested in working in developing world contexts, bamboo, timber, sustainable materials and earthquake-resistant design.
Seb Kaminski works as a Structural Engineer in Arup's London’s Specialist Technology & Research team. He works in the areas of timber, bamboo, seismic design, seismic retrofit and appropriate technologies in humanitarian and developing contexts. He is a member of the ISO TC165 Working Group 12 updating the ISO bamboo structural design code, B/525/8 and CEN/TC 250/SC 8/WG3 updating the timber section of Eurocode 8 – seismic design, and the IStructE Humanitarian and International Development Panel.
Sustainable bamboo housing