Architecture BRIO designs 3-storey sustainable bamboo building for Magic Bus
The dormitory for the staff of the NGO Magic Bus is located in the valley below the Karjat Dam. Sited on the tip of a small plateau it overlooks paddy fields and sleepy villages.
Embedded in the topography, the dormitory reveals different elevations depending on the viewpoint. By utilising the steep slope an intimate low façade faces the entrance court on the forest side. A more prominent vertical façade faces the paddy fields. A ‘cage’ of bamboo columns wraps around the building. Common circulation and verandahs occupy the interstitial spaces between the external bamboo columns and the internal mass. The large covered verandahs and the relatively narrow width of the building envelope allow for comfortably ventilated and shaded semi-indoor spaces. The screen of columns creates an ever-changing pattern of light and shadow throughout the seasons and times of the day, making the building a ‘sensor’ of light.
A reduced material pallette using bamboo for columns and walls, and natural stone and polished concrete for floors, balanced by the whitewashed interiors gives the calm rational architectural language a sensual physical presence. The row of bamboo posts at 1.5-meter intervals forms a permeable skin around the building as well as supports the entire building. Bamboos, being the fastest growing grass in the world, are a high yielding renewable material resource.
With invaluable inputs from engineer Vilas Gore of GeoScience Services, innovative technologies and methods are used in order to reduce the amount of non-renewable materials throughout the building. The selection of materials and building methods is optimized to decrease the load on the building, which in turn allow the supporting columns to be sleek and elegantly dimensioned. The columns consist of two bamboos, with a diameter of 90mm, joined together by steel strips. The floors are made of a composite of half cut bamboo, 50 mm concrete, finished with a layer of natural stone. Walls are infill panels made of split bamboo covered with reinforced plaster on the inside.
Combining natural and local materials with state of the art technologies and materials such as wood, concrete and steel this building portrays a new construction idiom – an expression of contemporary sustainable architecture.