Computational Bamboo: Digital and Vernacular Design Principles for the Construction of a Temporary Bending-Active Structure

  • Seiichi SuzukiEmail author
  • Evy L. M. Slabbinck
  • Jan Knippers
Conference paper


Active bending is calling for a paradigm shift in the way structures are designed and built. It is in this context that natural materials, like bamboo, can play a significant role in the development of more sustainable and economical material practices in architecture. Here, we present the results of a two-weeks workshop held in Quito, Ecuador, that lead to the design and construction of a bending-active demonstrator entirely built with natural materials. The structure was designed by using a highly intuitive numerically form-finding approach and materialized by only employed locally processed bamboo materials and natural jute cords. This implies not only a more sustainable construction practice derived from the usage of these materials and the lack of complex formworks and high-end machinery but also a more environmentally friendly deconstruction stage where all materials constituting the structure can be recycled. The presented study serves to strategically showcase what is suggested to be called a digital vernacular approach for the design of bending-active systems.


Active bending Bamboo Computational design 



Computational Bamboo was a demonstrator developed during the Global Summer School program of the Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia (IAAC) in Quito, Ecuador, which was organized in close collaboration with the Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE, Prof. Jan Knippers). The authors would like to thank the technical support offered by Yaner Luis Cangá Chavez, Andres Obregon, and Juan Edison Columba Paucar, and volunteers Byron Esteban Cadena Campos, Sophia Natalia Gualán Chacón, Gustavo Francisco Abdo Hernández, Santiago Dario Guevara Hidalgo, Karen Elizabeth Landazuri Proaño, Rafael Fernando Suárez Molina, Santiago Gabriel Miño Paz, and Nestor Emmanuel Mendoza Zambrano.

This project received great support from the Museum of Interactive Science (MIC), Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador (PUCE), the International Bamboo and Rattan Organization – Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean (INBAR), Sustainable Forest Management Corporation (Comafors), Fablab Zoi, Museum of Interactive Science (MIC), CODESA, Fibrobambu, and funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 642877 and Pelikano Plywood.

The presented research was conducted on the intersection between research and teaching together with students of the IAAC GSS Quito Programme. The authors would like to express their gratitude towards: Juan Francisco Mayorga Jaramillo, Valeria Latorre, Gordon Leibowitz, Valeria León, Veronica Sofia Molina, Maria Gabriela Chacon Palacios, Gisella Parra, Fausto Andres Davila Pazmiño, and Juan David Barona Trujillo.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Seiichi Suzuki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Evy L. M. Slabbinck
    • 1
  • Jan Knippers
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Building Structures and Structural Design (ITKE)StuttgartGermany

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