Phase 1: Site mapping and bamboo model making (2 days)

We will begin by exploring the site in rural Myanmar proposed to be the future education campus. This will also be an opportunity to engage with the community and understand the properties of the site and the needs of the end users. This will be an opportunity to meet and discuss with the community the project and take away a strong body of research to drive projects through the critiques and exercises of the following days.


This process will include:

  • Lecture on the typology of the building to be created.
  • Meeting with members of the organisation for which the structure will be built.
  • The history of the region.
  • An example of the types of activity in which the structure will be designed for.


Bamboo has the fantastic ability to display the same material properties at many scales. As a result, bamboo model making has become an art in itself and we will use this tool. These bamboo models offer material and structural information in real time as we endeavour to express initial formal responses to the site investigation and community discussion. We will document all this information, from these intuitive models.


Phase 2: Bamboo material knowledge (1 day)

There will be intensive lectures on the material of bamboo, learning their characteristics as both a plant and a construction material. You will learn the difference between a Paquimorfus and a Leptomorfus and learn why you should not use green bamboo and why bigger, is not always better. This will ensure the properties of bamboo as a construction material are embedded into the design work from the earliest stages, in order to synergise design intent with the material realities.


Phase 3: 3D Modelling (1 day)

After our physical modelling investigations, we will take these models into the computer. We will use Rhinoceros 3D as our modelling tool to create a model which can be studied and developed to optimise the design.


Phase 4: Generative Design and Computational Testing

Following this software such as Autodesk Flow and Karamba will be available as tools to assist with the line of inquiry groups are working with and not as design drivers in themselves. These tools will allow groups to subject designs to climate and aerodynamic data and allow us time for refinement to mitigate the effects of Myanmar’s natural vulnerabilities. With class tutorials in presentation software such as Creative Suite we want all students at the end of the course to present a portfolio to a high standard. As tools for testing and conveying our ideas this vast palate of software tools will be taught from a position of no prior knowledge.


Phase 5: Taxonomy, cutting and treatment (1 day)


In the dead of night we will use saws and machetes to cut bamboo to see why it is important to do this before the Sun rises. Depending on the time of the month, participants will be able to clearly see the effect of the full Moon on the bamboo.



We will learn about the reasons why it is important to treat the bamboo. Will we explain the differing processes and use a boucherie to treat bamboo with environmentally friendly processes such as borax/boric acid and learn about how this solution can still be used following the treatment of bamboo.



You will be using heavy construction tools which are required for working with bamboo. Including: drill bits for fish mouth joints; the mitre saw; and machetes.


Phase 6: Construction (7 days)

Bamboo construction knowledge will be embedded in the course throughout the design stage and this will inform all the design work. You will be lectured on a series of bamboo joints as part of a comprehensive introduction to building with bamboo. From fish mouth joints to ear-joints, these will be incorporated into your design work and then you will learn how to produce such joints in real-life utilising our array of tools and the many species of bamboo that are available to us.