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close this book Appropriate building materials
close this folder Examples of building systems
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View the document Bamboo houses
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Bamboo houses


Special properties

High strenght, flexibility, numerous designs possible

Economical aspects

Low to medium costs



Skills required

Traditional bamboo craftmanship

Equipment required

Tools for cutting, splitting, tying bamboo

Resistance to earthquake

Very good

Resistance to hurricane


Resistance to rain

Depends on protective measures

Resistance to insects


Climatic suitability

Warm humid climates

Stage of experience



• The examples of bamboo houses shown on the following pages are taken from the excellently illustrated bamboo construction manual by Oscar Hidalgo Lopez (Bibl. 24.07).

• All the structural components and most of the non-structural parts (floors and wall cladding) are made of bamboo. Only very little timber is used and the roof covering can be of any suitable, locally available material (eg thatch, fibre concrete, ferrocement, metal sheeting, cement mortar, or even stabilized, water-resistant soil mortar).

• The bamboo components are joined either by means of lashing materials, dowels, bolts or nails. A great number of possible bamboo connections is shown in the construction manual.

• On account of its low resistance to biological attack and fire, protective measures are necessary (see section on Bamboo).

Further information: Oscar Hidalgo Lopez, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Apartado Aereo 54118, Bogota, Colombia.

Construction of a Coffee Plant (also suitable for dwelling) (Bibl. 24.07)

Positioning of the supports and erecting the structural framework

Fixing the rafters and construction of upper and lower floors (upper floor and wall cladding with split-bamboo or wooden laths, lower floor covered with stabilized rammed earth).

Bracing of roof structure and completion of roof covering (first with split-bamboo or wooden laths, fixed with nails and wire, then covered with cement mortar, stabilized waterproof mud mortar or thatch).

Bamboo Structure with Prefabricated Space Frame Roof (Wooden boards serve as template and temporary bracing during prefabrication; the walls of the house are not necessarily made of bamboo).

Bamboo House on Stilts

Round House with Thatched Conical Roof (Structural stability is obtained by a bamboo tension ring along the top of the bamboo columns).