While plenty overlook it as a construction material due to its vulnerability to moisture and insects, there are a growing number of designers and architects that see huge potential in bamboo. Some impressive examples can be found in the Asian tropics, including the latest handiwork of Chiangmai Life Architects which has used the sustainable and cheap material to craft a school sports hall in the mountains of Thailand.

While bamboo has its drawbacks as a construction material, it does have its strengths, too. It is tougher to pull apart than steel, resistant to earthquakes, has great flexibility and grows incredibly quickly. It can also be harvested without killing the plant, which means that it regenerates a lot faster than wood.

These benefits are not lost on the team at Chiangmai Life Architects, who have been busy using bamboo to build villas, offices, homes and schools in and around the Thai city of Chiang mai. For its latest undertaking, the firm was tasked with building a 300-capacity sports and assembly hall for the Panyaden International School that integrated with its other bamboo buildings and the surrounding hilly landscape.

The result is a magnificent bamboo structure, whose design is inspired by the lotus flower and aims to combat the hot and wet climate with open, natural ventilation. The space itself is 15 meters (50 ft) across and high. Compared to traditional construction techniques, the team says its carbon footprint is reduced by 90 percent.

The space is intended to be used for full-sized basketball, volleyball and badminton games, and incorporates three smaller volleyball and badminton courts for practice. It also features a stage that can be lifted automatically for school assemblies, while balconies line the court so that parents and spectators can look on as events unfold.

The structure entered use earlier this year. Be sure to click through to the Bamboo Sports Hall gallery to see this impressive example of sustainable architecture from all angles.

View gallery - 19 images