Projects like the Blooming Bamboo and Bamboo Micro House prove that bamboo can be a very useful building material. The Diamond Island Community Center by Vietnam's Vo Trong Nghia Architects offers a reminder that in the right hands it can be beautiful, too.
Located on a small island on the Saigon River in Ho Chi Minh City, the Diamond Island Community Center project serves a group of condos, and comprises two large domes and six smaller pavilions. One structure is a reception while the rest are used for parties and conferences and the like. They will be outfitted as restaurants in the future.
The two large pavilions comprise intricately woven bamboo structures rising to a height of 12.5 m (41 ft) and 24 m (78.7 ft) in diameter. Drawing inspiration from traditional Vietnamese bamboo baskets used to carry fowl, the double-layered dome structures were woven on-site and are topped by an outer layer of thatching, which provides protection from sun and rain. The smaller pavilions were constructed using 12 prefabricated modules.
Vo Trong Nghia – the firm also responsible for the sub-US$4,000 S House and House for Trees projects – reports that the oculus provides ample natural lighting during daylight hours, and that it helps to keep the interior cool by allowing rising hot air to escape.
"Despite the application of several traditional construction methods, the project's aim is not to reproduce the vernacular, but to create sustainable architecture suited to the present," says Vo Trong Nghia. "In order to do this, systematization of production and construction of bamboo architecture is essential and, as a result, the project is a fusion of traditional folk art and contemporary architecture."
The Diamond Island Community Center project was completed earlier this year.