6 Beautiful Australian Timber Varieties

The Australian bush is a biologically wonderland

The Great Wall Bamboo House

Commune by the Great Wall Near Biejing China – Kengo Kuma and Associates

Year built: 2002
Built area: 529 m2 (5,713 sq. ft.)

The Bamboo Wall House was completed in 2002 as part of a multi-dwelling project near Beijing. Requirements were to use local materials and conform to the topography. The architect chose to make maximum use of inexpensive bamboo – a traditional building material that has fallen out of favour in modern China.

Kengo Kuma's Great Wall

Kengo Kuma’s Great Wall

Bamboo offers enormous strength and, as long as it is properly prepared, longevity similar to timber. However, bamboo is a grass and is harvested rather than ‘cut down’ the way a tree is. A single bamboo plant can produce many hundreds of culms over its life. As this home shows, bamboo is also a delight for the eye.

“Our first aim was to learn from the formality of the Great Wall. We were constantly attracted to the fact that the Great Wall has never been an isolated object. The formal quality of it running almost endlessly along the undulating ridgeline without being isolated from the surrounding environment was the nature we were attracted. That appealed to us as a criticism toward the conventional form of ‘architecture’ that tends to seek to be an isolated object among the environment. Thus our intention was to apply this nature of the Great Wall to the act of dwelling. This is what the house is titled ‘WALL’ for, instead of ‘HOUSE’

As for the material, we used bamboo as much as possible, since it’s considered as having a significant meaning among Chinese and Japanese cultures. Depending on density of bamboo and its each diameter, it offers a variety of partitioning of space. Making the most of that characteristics, we decided to place a bamboo WALL, a layer of bamboo along the site’s inclination just like the Great Wall. The Great Wall in the past partitioned off two cultures, but this BAMBOO WALL would not only partition but also unite life and culture in various manners as the Great Wall in particles.”

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If you liked this, how about this bamboo passivehaus in France!


Leaf House – Indigenous ingenuity

Angra dos Reis, Rio de Janeiro – Mareines + Patalano

Bamboo, local timbers, copper, massive beams spanning 20 metres and one of the world’s greatest harbours, help to make this a truly unique home. The design drew inspiration from indigenous Brazilian architecture to use natural ventilation to manage the hot and humid climate.

Leaf House – using indigenous design and materials to stay green

Leaf House – using indigenous design and materials to stay green

Notes from the architects:

“The roof acts as a big leaf that protects from the sun every room in the house as well as the free spaces between them. These free spaces represent the essence of the project, and how could it be otherwise, are the most interesting spaces and more used by people attending the house. Have in most cases a very high ceiling and allows the dominant southeast wind come frontally towards the sea and through the house, providing to all areas of the house, open or closed, ventilation and passive cooling. Eco-efficiency low-tech, where it has the greatest power to act in a building, the concept of architectural design.

We understand the beach house as a means to improve and make more pleasant the interaction of man with nature. Never separate them completely. There corridors. There is a lot of transparency and integration between inside and outside, almost a fusion between them. Here it is interesting to note the passage of the landscaping floor of the house, either by using vegetation as the pool which crossing the house turns into water mirror on the back porch. This balcony is called by office staff as “Brazilian lounge” by the adoption of networks for the rest area sauna, buried on land that begins to rise from this balcony.

The entire roof structure was made of laminated wood of eucalyptus, which due to its manufacturing process can simultaneously overcome large spans (20 meters is the largest of the house) with ease and aesthetic refinement. The roof, due to its complex geometry is made in small pieces of wood (pine). Eucalyptus, and Pinus species are planted for reforestation and used as feedstock considered renewable by the speed that reach the ideal time to be harvested. All surfaces finishing the house, except to glass and patinated copper are natural: Slate rust strips, natural wood, wood spider pole in the ground floor, and bamboo frames.

The use of natural materials, glass and patinated copper, which acquires a greenish tint and has very long shelf life, and rich organic aesthetic in detail how different rhythms and textures, provoked an interesting fact: The feeling that the house , brand new, there always seem to be in great harmony with the exuberant nature of Angra. The feeling of belonging to the place.”

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Six Sides and an Eye

Ida-Viru County, Estonia – Jaanus Orgusaar

Floor Area: 25 sqm

Year: 2010

Photography: Jaanus Orgusaar and Terje Ugandi


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