Vernacular construction is non-engineered and this broad category represents a very large share, sometimes the vast majority of the built environment in some parts of the world. Vernacular buildings possess certain specific qualities that radically differentiate them from other types of non-engineered construction. They are the result of ancient traditions, gradually improved over time in response to the needs of the occupants or to the changing requirements of the physical environment. In a permanent trial-and-error process, vernacular buildings are able to reach an asymptotic adjustment to become well fitted with their surroundings, gradually changing further still, in response to the new circumstances.
We’ve been fascinated by vernacular bamboo construction methodologies for the longest time, experimenting with this versatile material was, of course, inevitable!
When we learnt about plans to extend the WWF Wetland Center at Sandspit beach in Karachi we offered to submit a proposal. We brainstormed, researched, sketched, discussed and argued over the program, space design and construction methodology. Eventually, the conceptual design was our expression as architects, parents and community members – we went all out and prototyped a hybrid construction approach, using bamboo and box beams. Our proposal was not approved but that didn’t deter us from working further on the conceptual designs with this unorthodox construction methodology.
The WWF Wetland Center is located at Sandspit amid mangrove forests. Migratory birds from Central Asia use the surrounding areas for staging and feeding. More than a hundred and twenty five species of birds have been recorded here. Green turtles come to Sandspit beach for nesting each year.
We built a prototype across the road from our workspace in Clifton, Karachi. Over the years, it turned into a distinct landmark, until it was taken down, to be cannibalized for another project – bamboo rocks!!
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Read more about our material explorations by following the links below