The AA Bamboo Lab is an autotelic research programme of the AA Visiting School which explores the fusion of highly advanced computational design software and sustainable natural lightweight materials, to spawn new architectural opportunities. Parametric software now allows a material to be an active generator of design, with a high level of accuracy. However, the indeterminacy of the bamboo and construction practices in the less developed areas of the world, currently render this level of accuracy impotent. We explore this field through design projects and ask participants to work between the computer and 1 to 1 scale bamboo construction.

Java (November 2018)

In 2018 we collaborate with the Institut Teknologi Bandung. Projects will be proposed for the flood zones of Dayeuhkolot, Bandung, as these contexts are where bamboo can be a catalyst for resilient buildings, economic development and ecological restoration. These threatened zones are only increasing through urban migration, in which the poorest are resettled to the flooded suburbs of new mega cities. Such cities are now sinking under the weight of ‘development’ with around 40% of Jakarta below sea level. As architects we can change the preconceptions of this sustainable material of the 21st century through spatial design and redefine the tectonics of bamboo construction.

More information: http://bamboolab.aaschool.ac.uk/java-curriculum/

Haiti (2014-2017)

Working with Haiti as our primary landscape, this design and construction laboratory looks at the application of these new syntheses beyond architecture, to ecological restoration, social development, material infrastructure and the latent creativity these global challenges provide. Nowhere does a fusion of cutting edge computer software and sustainable lightweight materials apply more than Haiti, a country ravaged by deforestation and a lack economic mobility which produces inadequate structures for such a climatically and seismically vulnerable situation. Add to this a powerful architectural history, this country can offer so much to the field of contemporary sustainable architectural research. With a vast array of bamboo species available to test new material systems and structural opportunities, to parametric software analysing topography to optimise reforestation strategies, we continue to conduct pioneering sustainable architectural research whilst symbiotically providing long term strategies to benefit to the Haiti’s ecology and knowledge economy.

More information at: Haiti.aaschool.ac.uk

Video link: https://vimeo.com/193885497

Myanmar (2017)

In Myanmar, we will be looking to use these tools to design the campus of an architecture school. As the Myanmar economy continues to expand, we will ask how architecture needs to respond to the demands of a developing economy in a sustainable way, optimizing the utilization of local grown materials. The critical response to these globally relevant questions, will be rooted in the proposed design output, for a 3.5-acre site. It is intended that this output will subsequently be built. A full range of the Architect’s responsibilities will be demanded from, and questioned by participants, including: economics/supply chain, education, environmental, and cultural considerations in the development of this new architecture school. With sustainability at the core of the proposed teaching program, bamboo will play a strategic and important physical, economic and cultural role in the future School of Architecture.

More information at: Myanmar.aaschool.ac.uk