Exploring the potential of bamboo as a didactic alternative construction material : "living school" for the community of Tongova Mews, Tongaat.
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There is a current trend in architectural design of being conscious of the global environment and how this connects locally to a particular building site, especially in the selection of materials. Being a renewable and versatile resource, bamboo provides a cheap and effective solution as a construction material. Bamboo can be a rapid and continuous source of resources that can assist rural communities within developing countries using every part of the bamboo plant. Additionally bamboo has the benefit of being an agent of reforestation and positive socio economic empowerment. This research explored the process and usage of bamboo as a construction material. Global examples of bamboo structures were explored, examining how this material is used from structural details to intricate form-making. Furthermore, biological properties of bamboo were assessed through collected samples by the researcher to conceptualize details for the making of the 'living school'. The 'living school' is a development in which the spaces constructed out of bamboo would become an example of tectonic assembly, allowing communities to see the assemblages of parts to inspire experimentation in order to expand upon their knowledge of creating spaces using this material. The building could become a didactic tool for teaching of the potential of bamboo without formal instruction. This research will focus on how construction technologies could speak for themselves and transmit knowledge in a passive manner rather than by active methods of formal instruction to teach and transmit knowledge.