15 December 2016

Combining Tradition with Modernity
Bamboo Pavilion by CUHK School of Architecture Receives International Accolades



The Bamboo Pavilion, a project by Prof. Kristof Crolla, an assistant professor of the School of Architecture at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), was awarded the ‘Small Project of the Year’ in the World Architecture Festival held in Berlin, Germany recently. It has also just won a Silver Award in the DFA Design for Asia Awards, making over ten local and international honours the project has received throughout this year.

A Belgian architect, Professor Crolla appreciates the traditional bamboo scaffolding craftsmanship in Hong Kong. The scaffolding workers do not use conventional architectural drawings for their intuitive constructions, yet they are able to build scaffolding many storeys high. Each bamboo has its unique geometric, dimensional, and performative properties and this became the biggest challenge facing Professor Crolla when he was designing the Bamboo Pavilion. To deal with it, the research team of CUHK School of Architecture led by Professor Crolla developed new methods that merged precise digital design systems with traditional craftsmanship and inconsistent natural resources.

Professor Crolla said, ‘Bamboo is the most sustainable construction material, as it is one of the fastest growing, abundantly available natural resources. For it to be used effectively, though, we need to change our attitude towards natural building materials and how we design and build with them. With the ZCB Bamboo Pavilion, my hope is to prove that exhilarating, innovative architecture is possible when traditional craftsmanship is coupled with the latest digital design tools.’

The Bamboo Pavilion was a collaborative effort of CUHK School of Architecture, the Construction Industry Council and different contractors. It was used to host exhibitions, performances and events that advocate low carbon living, construction, and development. It was a four-storey-high long-span bending-active bamboo gridshell structure with a footprint of approximately 350 square metres and a seating capacity of 200 people. It was built from 475 large bamboo poles that were bent onsite to shape the structure and that were hand-tied together with metal wire using techniques based on Cantonese bamboo scaffolding craftsmanship. A tensile fabric was stretched over the structure to provide a shelter from the weather.

The Bamboo Pavilion showcases the possibilities of innovative buildings with bamboo, and illustrates how the endangered craftsmanship of bamboo scaffolding construction can be expanded through the introduction of digital form-finding and real-time physics simulation tools. Its purpose is to promote innovative and ecological architectural design to the broader public and design community.

In addition to the ‘Small Project of the Year’ Award in the World Architecture Festival and a Silver Award in the DFA Design for Asia Awards, the Bamboo Pavilion has also won a dozen awards including the International Property Awards in the UK, the Architizer A+Awards in the USA, the Successful Design Awards in Shanghai, the G-mark ‘Good Design Best 100’ in Japan, the HKDA Global Design Awards by Hong Kong Designers Association, the A&D Trophy Award by Perspective, and the Green Building Awards by the Hong Kong Green Building Centre.

Professor Crolla is currently an assistant professor at CUHK School of Architecture.  He studied civil engineering at the University of Ghent in Belgium and went to the Architectural Association School of Architecture in London and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology to pursue further studies. In 2010, he moved to Hong Kong and joined CUHK. His academic research focuses on the strategic implementation of computation in architectural design.

Prof. Kristof Crolla, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, CUHK.
Prof. Kristof Crolla, Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, CUHK.

Prof. Kristof Crolla has received over ten local and international honours throughout this year for his project - the Bamboo Pavilion.
Prof. Kristof Crolla has received over ten local and international honours throughout this year for his project - the Bamboo Pavilion.

The Bamboo Pavilion
The Bamboo Pavilion

The Bamboo Pavilion
The Bamboo Pavilion

The Bamboo Pavilion was built from bamboo poles using techniques based on Cantonese bamboo scaffolding craftsmanship.
The Bamboo Pavilion was built from bamboo poles using techniques based on Cantonese bamboo scaffolding craftsmanship.

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