2016 UNSW Teaching – RAW Impact ‘Every Piece Matters’ Cambodia Studio

RAW (Raising Awareness Worldwide) Impact Slum Relocation – Self-Sufficient Bamboo Housing for Cambodian Families

Studio Tutors: Rob Brown & Carly Martin
2016 ARCH7111 Design Studio 1
UNSW Masters of Architecture Programme Architecture + Design


This design studio takes a worldwide view of architecture, and emphasises the important role which architecture canplay in assisting communities in need. 

The studio will examine the variety of prospects offered by bamboo in architecture, in particular investigating the work of Colombian architect Simón Vélez, who famously described bamboo as “the vegetable alternative to steel”.  Perhaps less well known is that other architects including Buckminster Fuller, Frei Otto, Renzo Piano, Toyo Ito and Arata Isozaki also experimented with the versatile material, despite bamboo’s reputation as “the poor man’s wood”. 

Over one billion people in the world live in bamboo houses in Asia, Latin America and Africa.  In addition to houses, it has been used to make bridges and other buildings, and can be processed to be eaten, fed, exported, turned into paper, used in furniture or even turned into musical instruments.  It is a low-tech material with high innovative potential. 

Bamboo is affordable, sustainable, lightweight, flexible, and can be easily manipulated - how can it be developed into the architecture of the 21st century?

This project involves designing a self-sufficient community for 10-15 families using bamboo as the principal building material.