Bamboo & Banyans: Prototyping – 2023-07-01

We started with laser cutting parts for a model of the squatter house ruin visited during our session in May. There were five participants, Simon and his two children as well as Effy and Victoria. Meanwhile I gave an introduction to living architecture and to our site.

In the second part of the workshop, participants used their imagination to design a bamboo structure on top of the ruin. In its remote location at Ark Eden on Lantau Island, the main purpose of the building is that of a school where students gather to learn about the forest ecosystem. Furthermore it should look nice in order to attract visitors and raise awareness for the cause.

The last step in our creative process was the planting of the banyan trees. The trees will eventually take over the bamboo structure and transform it into a living organism. This process can take decades. While the bamboo structure rots in Hong Kong’s humid climate, the banyans grow stronger.

At scale 1:23, our bamboo poles were skewers and chop sticks. Our banyan trees were abrus herbs.

Simon and his children chose to add a spiral staircase and a tower with flag to their design. They particularly considered leaving enough space for the aerial roots of the banyans to grow.

Effy’s design

Effy created a main room plus a separate space with a pole in the middle. From the pole, the aerial roots of a banyan will be guided onto the pillars surrounding it. A living dome emerges, providing shade.