belas bamboo

The BELAS Bamboo was developed in Architectural Association Visiting School São Paulo in 2022. The workshop relied on Augmented Reality (AR) technology to guide manual fabrication actions for developing complex geometries built with bamboo. Bamboo was chosen as the material because it is a local material that grows fast and is a carbon-sequestering construction material. The course combined bamboo constructions and digital technologies based on digital design research to implement bending-active bamboo shell structures.

The workshop was divided into digital and hands-on classes. Firstly, the assistants taught the basics of Rhinoceros, Grasshopper, and Anemone. Secondly, Kristof Crolla explained how his Grasshopper definition could generate buildable complex systems from a simple combination of regular planes. Lastly, Garvin Goepel taught constructions aided by Fologram and holographic devices (Microsoft HoloLenses and handheld smartphones).

The workshop also involved visiting a bamboo plantation and lectures from João Nunes and Andry Widyowijatnoko, both bamboo specialists. Nunes recommended using Bambusa Vulgaris Tuldoides because it is flexible, can be cut 6 meters in length, and has approximately 4cm diameter at its base and 3cm at the top. It was split into four strips to allow more flexibility.

Finally, we started the hands-on classes, dividing the students into two groups to make the physical models. The first group constructed the models with continuous sticks, while the second built them with overlaps. The first model almost broke, and the second one didn’t, so the tutors decided to construct the final model with overlaps. The bamboo pavilion was built following the same steps as the physical model. In both, we were aided by Augmented Reality to cut, assemble, and pop up the gridshell. To conclude, we included the diagonals and started the densification of the pavilion with more bamboo stickes.

  1. Physical models: overlapped sticks and continuous sticks.
  2. Visitation to João Nunes bamboo plantation.
  3. Bambusa Vulgaris Tuldoides.
  4. Cutting the bamboo four sticks.
  5. Cleaning.
  6. Measuring and cutting the bamboo sticks aided by Augmented Reality – Hololens 2 (image from Fologram).
  7. Preparing the connections (joints made with zip ties).
  8. Combining regular planes in Rhino; internalizing in Grasshopper; dividing the surfaces to find the bamboo sticks.
  9. Anemone’s definition of joining the bamboo sticks according to the singularity on the top (hexagon).
  10. Popping up the gridshell on Kangaroo.
  11. Creating a circle (simulating the stage) on Grasshopper, dividing it, and using the points as attractors to pull the gridshell endpoints.
  12. Reverse path: we created one hundred QR codes to draw these points on Rhino and verify the dimensions.
  13. Flat grid on the floor. The colors indicate which sticks should be connected, and the rectangles the direction of the tie (image from Fologram).
  14. Popping up the gridshell on Grasshopper-Kangaroo (image from Fologram).
  15. Pulling the gridshell endpoints to the stage on Grasshopper- Kangaroo (image from Fologram).
  16. Densification on Rhino (image from Fologram).
  17. Building the grid on the floor (aided by Fologram/Hololens 2).
  18. Popping up the gridshell.
  19. Pushing the gridshell endpoints to the stage and drilling it.
  20. Inserting the diagonals.
  21. Densification with basticksricks is done (pavilion placed on the Belas Artes stage). Mapping these points in real time (image from Rhino/GH).

This “project illustrates the spatial versatility and practical applicability of a novel, eco-friendly tectonic system suitable for the low-tech, labor-driven construction contexts found in the most rapidly developing parts of the world.” (CROLLA, Kristof – TOROO Pavilion)

video by Felipe Calegari Marques

Date: July 2022
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil

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